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why does dd's teacher award prizes to the best girl and the best boy - instead of to the two best children?

(34 Posts)
hatwoman Mon 06-Oct-08 20:12:23

it niggles me. make distinctions between girls and boys when there are objective reasons to do so but not for the sake of it. doing it for the sake of it is unhealthy imo. but maybe someone can persuade me there's a good reason for this.

Anna8888 Mon 06-Oct-08 20:21:52

Because the two prizes would more often go to girls than to boys. And because it is more encouraging for the whole class.

milkmoustache Mon 06-Oct-08 20:23:21

positive role models for both boys and girls - where's the harm?

Blandmum Mon 06-Oct-08 20:24:45

I once gave a year 7 class an incentive scheme. every lesson they had a chance to win 'tickets' for a prize draw at the end of half term. Every lesson they could win up to 4 tickets. Prizes were things like rubbers and rulers etc.

at the first half term I did the draw and just by chance only girls won the 3 prizes. the boys refued to take part from that point onwards.

they were 11

Maybe the teacher thinks the same thing will happen

Anna8888 Mon 06-Oct-08 20:26:49

My stepsons have been ranked versus the rest of their class right through primary and now in secondary.

My younger DSS always says he is "premier de la classe". He just discounts the three girls who are consistently ahead of him in the ranking hmm.

Habbibu Mon 06-Oct-08 20:27:58

I guess he'll find out his folly when 4th in line for a job, Anna!

Twiglett Mon 06-Oct-08 20:31:26

because boys and girls are different with different patterns of educational development and to ignore this physiological fact is just playing PC for no real reason

Quattrocento Mon 06-Oct-08 20:31:36

Yes DS does this - discounts the girls as a total irrelevance. Not in school now obv because he is at a boys school. Is this latent sexism? Where has he learnt this? What have I done wrong?

Anna8888 Mon 06-Oct-08 20:35:54

My nephew does it too (he is one year younger than my DSS2) - I think it's an age thing, because my DSS1 (13) is much more aware of girls and their strengths - and that women can achieve just as much as men, and more.

hatwoman Mon 06-Oct-08 20:44:44

twiglett - I totally agree - and in order to address that you award the prizes for skills and learning that acknowledge that. ie you have a prize for a skill that often girls are good at and a prize for a skill that boys are often good at. and you award them to the two children that are the best. and that's exactly what I meant by acknoledging relevant objective difference. but you shouldn't imo teach children to compete along gender lines - ie only with those of the same gender. cos the real world's not like that. men compete with women. women compete with men.

cazzybabs Mon 06-Oct-08 20:47:33

I do this because I have to have some criteria for selecting...I also tend to go for those children who have worked hard rather than the brightest.

Twiglett Tue 07-Oct-08 07:24:25

ahhh .. ok I misunderstood OP ... you have a significate point there Hat

seeker Tue 07-Oct-08 07:44:41

Because - (and as the mother of a boy I am grinding my teeth as I say this) - if the prize went to the two children in the class best at practically anything they would go to two girls!

Sad, but true.

idlingabout Tue 07-Oct-08 13:51:26

I agree with the op. It is also very unfair on the girls if they consistently see boys rewarded who have not done as well / worked as they have simply because they are in the 'boys' section.
This was always the problem in the old days with the 11+ - there were more places available for boys so they didn't need to score as highly. How do you justify that to the girl who doesn't pass having seen a boy whom she has consistently out-performed get a place?
We have a school council at our primary school; each class elects 2 reps but one of each gender. In DD's year there is a ratio of over 3:1 girls to boys making it statistically unfair on the girls as they have a much lower chance of being elected.

Aveda Tue 07-Oct-08 13:57:46

I don't see a problem with this tbh. What's the harm? It's primary school fgs, not the house of commons.

It's about promoting self confidence and building self esteem. Boys need that too.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Tue 07-Oct-08 14:11:53

Agree with Seeker. There is enough pressure on little boys to be more like girls sad

hatwoman Tue 07-Oct-08 14:30:40

I do accept the point that a system that resulted in only girls being rewarded would not be helpful (see my 20:44 post). but the thing I have a problem/niggle with is that it seperates girls and boys when there are no rational grounds for doing so. And I think it's more problematic/harmful precisely because it is primary school. We are laying down so much of the foundations for how our los will see the world, relate to their peers, think about how things are structured, think about when gender is relevant and when it's not. If we give them wrong messages now it's ones they will very likely hold and grow up with.

I am totally not in the group that argues there are no relevant differences and girls and boys should be treated identically (if indeed such a group exists). I am someone who agrees with a very famous legal judgment about what discimination is - it's treating people differently when there's no objective reason to do so and it's treating people the same when there are objective reasons to treat them differently. the key thing is about objective and relevant difference. An arbitrary seperation of people into 2 camps on some irrelevant ground is unhealthy imo and niggles me.

Fennel Wed 08-Oct-08 11:46:53

I agree with Hatwoman. There must be ways of rewarding various children in the class without being so gender-oriented. There are educational issues with black children underachieving at school too, but can you imagine a school where there were separate prizes for black and white children?

I have dds, not dss, but one of my dds is the type to win prizes, all the time, every sort of prize. She's competent and competitive and geared up to winning. And another of my dds is the type who tries really hard but will rarely win a prize unless it's been engineered (which they do at school). my 3rd dd just opts out of any competition or challenge. Even between all girls you need mechanisms to vary the awards and encourage all the children, with different abilities and personalities. Otherwise the dd2s of this world will just carry off all the prizes, and the dd1s will be demoralised, and the dd3s will opt out of the system.

hellywobs Wed 08-Oct-08 15:56:37

If you had a head boy and head girl would you be asking the same question or would you expect two headgirls or 2 headboys? I can't see a problem with this at all.

hatwoman Wed 08-Oct-08 22:59:12

actually hellywobs I had thought of that exact thing. and yes I think the point of a "head" pupil is to select someone (or two if you like) who has a particular set of skills. and if you want 2 I do think they shouldn't be chosen on gender lines.

SmugColditz Wed 08-Oct-08 23:13:11

You can't just put them all in trousers and pretent they're the same, for God's sake, we make boys and girls use different toilets at school, they KNOW they are different, the know by the time they are five that 75% of girls in the class are confident readers and 75% of boys in the class aren't, they know that in any group of fifty girls and fifty boys, if someone flicks mashed potato it was probably a boy, and if someone cries because it landed on them it was probably a girl (and I see her damn point, it's not nice eating with small boys!)

This is prejudice, it's observation. Like it or not, for whatever reason, they are different by the time they go to school.

If they just had two top children, they would always be girls. AQlways. Girls behave better, listen better, play nicer, sit stiller, write neater, read faster, you only have to sit in a year 1 classroom for 3 hours to see this is the case. They HAVE to make sure a boy gets a prize or the boys will cop on that in the real world they have no frigging chance until they hit puberty and their brains catch up. And that might be too late to recapture there enthusiasm for school - they will have learned that school is for girls. It's what girls do.

hatwoman Wed 08-Oct-08 23:34:19

colditz - read my posts of tue 14.30 and mon 20:44. this is not about trying to pretend girls and boys are the same.

SmugColditz Wed 08-Oct-08 23:45:03

I have rewad them, HW. My point is that you get things girls are good at (shcool) and things boys are good at (being disruptive)

Is it going to be beneficial to the class to reward 'boyish' behavior when that behavior is not going to be conducive to a learning environment?

SmugColditz Wed 08-Oct-08 23:45:13

I have rewad them, HW. My point is that you get things girls are good at (shcool) and things boys are good at (being disruptive)

Is it going to be beneficial to the class to reward 'boyish' behavior when that behavior is not going to be conducive to a learning environment?

nappyaddict Wed 08-Oct-08 23:50:47

i think you do need a head pupil of each gender so that each and every pupil has a role model. most 11 year old boys wouldn't look up to a 16 year old girl as their role model.

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