Once again news of a "Boy Crisis" resurfaces. Nicholas Kristof reports that boys are failing behind, and argues for "nurturing boys with explosions," as that is the type of curriculum that boys respond to. In response to this editorial, Belkin and Singer assert, "if fidgeting and foul humor are going to help our boys in school, then bring them on." I hope this isn't serious.
First, it isn't clear that there is in fact a boy crisis or that solutions to the supposed crisis are educationally sound, as recent research by Cara Okopny shows. This is not to say that many individual boys are struggling in school (I am sure a number of individual girls are struggling too). But, it is important not to assume that a struggling boy needs more explosions and more fidgeting. (I feel stupid writing this, but here goes) Boys are different, and so one solution will not fit all boys. More, should we encourage violent behavior in boys? Does the potential short-term gain in student-engagement through violence make up for a potential long-term interest in violence and violent activities. Looking at how young men behave in college--survey data shows that numbers of acquaintance/date rape are extremely high--I am much more concerned with eradicating this type of violence than hoping that a more violent curriculum might lead to greater learning outcomes for some boys.