By Shelby Teague and Daniel Faudoa
Graduation rates are at the highest now that they have been since 1974, but the gender gap of males and females is still being dominated by females. According to most recent studies, about 80 percent of males graduate high school, while 86 percent of females graduate high school.
Many people and researchers believe that the gender gap came about because classrooms have become feminized and geared towards teaching girls instead of boys. Boys tend to be more hands-on, while girls just accept the lessons and do their best to learn it. This isn’t the case for all boys and girls but, in general, this is the way things go. “I don’t believe it is all due to gender,” said math teacher Michael Saulmon. “It also depends on the students’ desire and will to learn.”
According to Saulmon, he has more trouble teaching males. He believes that girls are easier to teach because they have more of a desire to learn. In some studies it is said that boys want to know how they can apply what they learn to their lives. “Boys always ask those, ‘When will I ever use this in real life?’ type of questions,” said Saulmon. “It is all they want to know.”
Saulmon does not agree that classrooms are becoming more feminine. “Classrooms used to be more feminine; now they are less geared toward females,” said Saulmon. “Most modern classrooms have become more geared towards males by incorporating visual and hands-on learning.” This I have seen in the classroom. Lately more teachers are using visual notes and drawing pictures to give a visual of what is being taught. Whether it is from math to history, visuals are being used more often. As a guy, I do believe the visuals reinforce learning.
Lately, technology has had a big impact on a student’s education. According to Spanish teacher Mario Garcia, more girls use their cell phones during class than boys. There are many new distractions that affect graduation rates and gender differences seem to be less of a problem these days.
I cannot just sit and listen to a lecture the whole hour. It is more interesting when there is something that I can actually see, although I do not think it is gender geared. I believe the difference is in their upbringing. If someone has parents who are not involved in their academics, that student will most likely not care and lash out against teachers, while a student with parents who are involved and take action will care more about learning.
Many aspects help or hinder a child`s ability to learn, but is gender one of them? Many experts believe that the current environments in schools across the nation are more geared toward females, leaving their male counterparts to fend for themselves. According to a recent study, almost one third of boys entering college read at an illiterate level, compared with only 25 percent of girls. Is this caused by the school environment, or the fact that girls are simply more willing to put in the work than guys are?
I believe that gender does in some ways affect your ability to learn. However, I don’t believe that the school environment is to blame. In my experience, it is all about your drive to do well. In most cases, girls are simply more willing to put in the time to get the grade. “I think that girls just are more likely to do their homework,” said Ashley Motley, senior. While many guys are willing to do this as well, I think boys are more likely to take the easy way out. Now this isn`t because girls are naturally more intelligent than boys, but I think it`s just a side effect of the society we live in. In terms of the workplace, it seems like boys have more options than girls do. It is perfectly fine, even acceptable, for a guy to flunk out of high school and get a job in the oil field. Girls really don’t have that option.
I also think that guys are much more likely to get drawn into extracurricular activities instead of their actual education. According to Dave Croissant, business teacher, this is something that he has seen over his years at WHS. “Boys get more focused on sports, more so than girls. It seems like they feel like just passing is ok as long as they can play on that field Friday night,” said Croissant. While many girls are also involved in sports, I think it`s more of a guy thing, especially here at WHS. “All we ever hear about is football or boys basketball, girls’ sports don’t seem to matter,” said Motley.
All in all, I think it is more willingness to work rather than the school environment that makes it seem like girls have an advantage in school. With equal opportunity to succeed in the same environment, with both male and female teachers, girls just seem to excel.