To ban or not to ban: "Bossy"

March 13, 2014 by Bill Ivey

“When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’” So begins the website at http://banbossy.com/, a new organization co-founded by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean-In Foundation and the Girl Scouts of America. The website points out that girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boy’s from elementary to high school, that girls are twice as likely as boys to worry about being called “bossy,” and girls are still called on less and interrupted more in class. (Ban Bossy) There’s no question that we need to do something about that, and there’s no question we know some of the things that work.

On the Girl Scouts’ website, for example, they share the results of a study done in 2008 that showed the following (Girl Scouts):

  • Girls, even at a very young age, have definite ideas about what it means and takes to be a leader.
  • Promoting leadership in girls is primarily a matter of fostering their self-confidence and providing supportive environments in which to acquire leadership experience.
  • To be relevant to and successful with girls, a leadership program must address their aspirational or preferred definition of leadership, their need for emotional safety, and their desire for social and personal development.
  • Girls have a range of “leadership identities,” from strong aspiration to outright rejection of the leadership role.

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, intersectionality, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, anti-racism, social justice, Parenting, On Parenting, community, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, Women in media, girls' school, Current Events, gender activism, Education

#NAISAC14, Day One

March 03, 2014 by Bill Ivey

The National Association of Independent Schools is holding its annual conference right now, and as I have in some past years, I’ve resolved to try and read up on at least a portion of the many wonderful things happening there and reflect on them here. This installment follows the first full day.

Bo Adams caught my attention early by tweeting, "Now that would make a great course! 'Our relationship with water.'" I wrote back to say that’s exactly a topic we in the middle school have been brainstorming about for a possible month-long interdisciplinary project one day. He sent an encouraging note asking me to keep him informed, and I linked him to our blog.

Filed Under: Middle School, gender, NAIS, All-Girls, On Education, NAISAC14, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Education

Building the Future

February 18, 2014 by Bill Ivey

To enter the toy section of virtually any major store these days, you’d almost think boys and girls were two different species, one of which apparently falls head-over-heels in love with anything pink. Or possibly purple. Yet, whatever sex-based differences may be present at birth and whatever gender-based differences may be acquired from birth on, such extreme gender segregation of toys is a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, this iconic 1981 Lego ad makes it clear that 33 years ago, girls were perfectly happy to build with traditional Legos, and Lego was willing to advertise that fact.

To be fair, as was noted in an article in the Huffington Post, Judy Lotas, the creative director in charge of Lego’s ad campaign, had to fight to have Rachel Giordano (then age four) included. The mother of two daughters, she knew better when others argued that only boys like to build, and successfully stood her ground (further proof, by the way, that we need more women involved in advertising!). Ms. Giordano and other child models were given about an hour to play with Lego sets, and were then photographed holding their own creations. As it happens, those are also her own clothes (blue jeans and blue t-shirt) she wore in off the street. Maybe it’s that genuine quality that has helped this ad endure.

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, The Girls School Advantage, social justice, Parenting, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, National Engineering Week, girls' school, Current Events, engineering

Sleeves Rolled Up

February 11, 2014 by Bill Ivey

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Center for Teaching Quality is holding a book chat on Why Gender Matters by Dr. Leonard Sax, the founder and executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. (NASSPE) His work is centered on the notion that understanding gender differences enables us better to help our students learn.

Filed Under: Teaching, gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Annie Murphy Paul, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Scott MacClintic, Education

Gathering Research

January 08, 2014 by Bill Ivey

When the appointment of Dr. John Chubb to the presidency of the National Association of Independent Schools was first announced, there was a certain level of concern expressed by a number of people over his views on education. To his very great credit, Dr. Chubb responded quickly and graciously, even talking extensively over the phone with Kim Sivick, now the Director of Professional and Organizational Development for the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, and with me as well. Kim and I both blogged about our respective conversations, she here and I here. Among other encouraging points Dr. Chubb then made was the desire to determine and facilitate policy directions desired by the membership.

Filed Under: NAIS, Independent Schools, education policy, education research, On Education, social justice, All Girls Education, Current Events, Education

No Retreat, No Surrender

December 03, 2013 by Bill Ivey

We need to make sure we’re making it possible for people of all genders to feel acknowledged for their contributions and not feel held back by something as arbitrary as their genetics or appearance.
- Emily Graslie

Chief Curiosity Coordinator has to be one of the most awesome job titles ever. The position, created by Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, is held by Emily Graslie, who is STEAM (Science - Technology - Engineering - Art - Mathematics) personified. A studio art major, she interned at the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum, where she was tapped to host her own show on YouTube, “The Brain Scoop,” to show and discuss the behind-the-scenes workings of a major natural history museum. She also manages a tumblr by the same name.

Filed Under: gender, Technology, The Brain Scoop, STEAM, All Girls Education, Feminism, Women in media, STEM, Current Events, Emily Graslie

Not Giving Up So Easily

October 04, 2013 by Bill Ivey

co-authored with Charlotte M. '16

Filed Under: Middle School, gender, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, social justice, Parenting, On Parenting, All Girls Education, Feminism, girls' school, Current Events

Gender-Coloured Glasses

September 17, 2013 by Bill Ivey

I work hard to listen carefully to my students. It shows respect for them and respect for girls' voices, it gives me a chance to learn from and about them, and it gives me the chance to be a role model to them. Yet I confess, on occasion, I do deliberately interrupt them. One such occasion is when they say "We all think..." and I will interrupt to ask who "we all" is and how they know "we all" think that way. They rephrase, "My two friends here and I think..." and I go back into active listening mode. One of the highlights of the 2009-2010 Humanities 7 class was one February when a student said, "Most of us think..." and then looked at me slyly and said, "Did you notice I said 'most of us'? (I smiled and nodded) See? I have been listening to you!"

Filed Under: gender, gender stereotypes, On Education, Rachel Simmons, social justice, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Education

... Like We're People

April 29, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Every August, my hometown hosts one of the great 10K races in New England, the Bridge of Flowers Classic. Hundreds of runners, from local kids to world-class elite racers, line up on the Iron Bridge while seemingly half the town lines up to watch them or goes to take their stations to volunteer and help out. On several oocasions, Greg Snedeker (our jazz and classical music teacher) and friends set up out on the course to provide musical support. It's always fun and festive, and a wonderful way to spend the morning.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, On Education, Bill Ivey, Beautifully different, community, Acceptance, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

Incontestably Human

April 15, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted that she was riding in a taxi when the driver told her, "You know, you're very lovely, very classy for a black lady." Flabbergasted (her word), she responded, "Well, I'm sure you THOUGHT that was a compliment, so thank you." During the Facebook conversation that followed this retelling, one of her friends commented, "Educating people out of their disillusion, fear, and stereotyping is a difficult thing, no?"

Filed Under: gender, On Education, Bill Ivey, Sexism, Beautifully different, diversity, All Girls Education, Phillips Academy, Feminism, In the Classroom, Women in media, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, racism, Education