Stop giving boys wrong messages

20th October 1995 at 01:00
With reference to "How to lure the reluctant boy readers" (TES, October 6) . . . perhaps by deciding not to perpetuate the sexist stereotype in the form of statements such as "Boys don't produce as neat work as girls do, boys are never as keen on reading and writing as girls, boys don't work as well as girls. " I've heard this kind of thing said by a teacher to a mother, in a class full of five-year-olds, some of them boys and at least some of them all ears.

I hazard the opinion that boys, fed such messages in the form of statements about the way the world is, will gladly go along with them. They will also have been reassured that they are not even expected to produce work matching girls', and, as my personal experience tells me, less will be asked of them.

Clearly, social attitudes are important in this area, as the article suggests. I wonder, however, if the teachers themselves hold and project desirable attitudes. Once, they pulled up their feminist socks and brought girls' maths and science up to higher standards. Perhaps it's boys' turn now for a boost of confidence (and performance) in literacy?

EWA JAWORSKA 5 Penrhos Terrace Brynsiencyn Anglesey Gwynedd

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