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Friday, September 16, 2005

How to Teach (Restless) Young Boys

Lois and I have both struggled in recent months with Matthew, as we've begun formal "schooling." One of our more frequent battles has been over "sitting still" while doing "school." A recent post by Al Mohler suggests that rather than fight the battle, perhaps we should learn from it and adapt our schooling techniques. It is so easy to become discouraged with Matthew's boyish restlessness, as evidenced by a recent IM conversation Lois and I had, with Lois describing a friend's experience schooling their young daughter not a year older than Matthew:
She was able to sit down w/her for 1 full hr doing math, reading, and science; and [her daughter] even asked for more. whereas w/me, I can only do about 5 min. with Matthew. Even within the 5 min, he is all wiggly and jumpy.

Yet Mohler's article, and even plain (politically incorrect) intuition and science suggest that this is a battle we'll lose if we fight it instead of learning from it.

This is Mohler's conclusion:
The differences between boys and girls are profound. Most classrooms are girl-friendly and largely feminized in culture. Boys think differently, communicate differently, and are incentivized differently. Young boys cannot sit quiet and still for long periods of time. Their concentration patterns are very different from those of girls -- and they know it. Resisting an acknowledgement of these differences requires a tremendous capacity for denying the obvious.