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Whitmire's Book WHY BOYS FAIL Delineates the Problem, but Not the Solution

By       Message Thomas Farrell       (Page 3 of 7 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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Oddly enough, not only the practice of corporal punishment in formal education fell by the wayside as girls were admitted more and more to formal education, but so did the emphasis on classroom contests and competitiveness in formal education.

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However, as I write, girls and women in the United States are engaging in extracurricular sports activities on an unprecedented scale. Look at how many consecutive basketball games the women's basketball team at the University of Connecticut has won without a defeat!

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Nevertheless, everybody who has ever played an organized sport knows that the joys of winning are usually balanced out by defeats. Oftentimes, defeats outnumber victories. In any event, American boys and men glory in athletic contests. Have you heard the expression "March Madness"?

But the point of sports competition is to learn to enjoy the thrill of the game, the contest.

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Now, Lawrence Summers famously lost his job as president of Harvard University for discussing why women scientists do not often rise to the highest ranks among scientists. After watching the blow-up about his deliberately provocative comments about women scientists, I nevertheless want to venture walking where angels might fear to tread.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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