Professor's false assumptions

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
I must contest Professor Diana Leonard's cursory and bland analysis of what she perceives to be the continuing gender inequalities in English state secondary schooling ("Should we worry about the boys?", TES August 20).

Professor Leonard has, of course, a vested interest (by the very nature of the chair in education she holds at London university's Institute of Education) in keeping this old warhorse 1960s70s "debate" alive and kicking.

Unfortunately she seems to have kept herself in a Dr Who time-warp regarding this dated educational issue.

I don't know if and when Professor Leonard last taught in a secondary school on a regular basis (might I remind her - and other academics for that matter - that doing empirical research in schools with the assistance of research fellows is not proper teaching) but I can assure her that contrary to her perception that "teachers, like the rest of society, see boys and girls, and stereotype, interpret and make recommendations on the basis of gender expectations", teachers, in fact, don't.

And when she goes on to say "the educational system as a whole is implicitly based around boys' needs and men's employment", I do wonder just where the professor has been hanging around these past few years.

Dr Christopher Knight

90 Crescent Drive



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