For the past 8 months my school has been looking at the differences between the ways girls learn compared to boys.
Boys will produce better writing if the end product is real. Girls are more interested in the emotional reaction to their work and focussing on relationships. Hence, girls produce better fictional writing.
For example, imagine a lesson in which the purpose of the lesson was to learn the skills of writing a formal letter.
We might pitch the lesson as an activity for boys that will culminate with their letter being sent to someone in the real world: a politician or a celebrity for example.
The same lesson for a girl would be better angled as a chance to give advice to someone about a problem they are having.
We also learned that girls are up to 95% better at communicating non-verbally. They pick up nuances through visual signals in a sophisticated manner from quite a young age. Boys on the other hand need direct or even physical interaction to get the same message.
To illustrate I recently dealt with a case of bullying amongst our 8-9 year old girls. We watch for bullying quite intensively at school, as it quickly creates a barrier to learning. We look for tell-tale signs like patterns in absence, academic standards slipping and close observation on the playground. We have an extensive list of pupils we monitor and review the list on a weekly basis.
An absence pattern triggered interviewing a 8-year-old girl who confided that she has been bullied for up to two years by another girl in her class. The aggression was emotional, not physical. The child had been isolated from her friends by the aggressor in a very quiet, behind the scenes manner.
Interviewing all the girls took the best part of a day but it was clear that hardly a word passed between them. Messages were sent with subtle eye gestures and facial expressions. Alliances to isolate an individual were forged by the bully simply grabbing the hand of another girl and leading her away from the victim. It was genius in its subtly and equally cruel. To an observing teacher it would look like two school friends holding hands as they walked to a different part of the playground.
Transplant boys into the scenario and there would have been a physical act; punching, kicking, name calling. It would have been overt and easier to detect. Boys are interactive.
In yesterday’s blog I talked about women reacting to threats to their sense of security. Controlling friendship groups is a big part of that security for an 8-year-old. It made me think about how females in general communicate.
The following email is one of those virals sent around cyber space earlier this week. It has sparked extensive media debate around manners. If you don’t know the story, it is apparently a message sent to a London PA from her potential mother-in-law in Devon.
To me, it had little to do with etiquette. Forget manners as you read. What strikes me about it is the naked aggression. The message was obviously not meant for public consumption and despite the writer’s feelings; she obviously chose not to share these in a face-to-face interaction, but through the disembodied world of email. I imagine that the trip to Devon and the potential mother-in-law’s home was conducted behind fake smiles. I can also imagine that the occasion was peppered with very real, facial gesture which spoke volumes.
It is obvious that even more venom, perhaps an even a bigger message runs as an under-current beneath her words. That message is ‘you are not welcome in my family; you are being isolated from this group.’
Women look nice and smell nice. They are sugar and spice and everything nice. But scratch that surface and in some you get…well, you will read it for yourself below .
Keep the Faith,
It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.
Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you.
It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.
Your behaviour on your visit to Devon during April was staggering in its uncouthness and lack of grace.
Unfortunately, this was not the first example of bad manners I have experienced from you.
If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste.
There are plenty of finishing schools around. You would be an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series.
Please, for your own good, for Freddie’s sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.
Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:
- When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless you are positively allergic to something.
- You do not remark that you do not have enough food.
- You do not start before everyone else.
- You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
- When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early – you fall in line with house norms.
- You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.
- I have no idea whether you wrote to thank [your future sister-in-law] for the weekend but you should have hand-written a card to her.
- You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed at Houndspool.
- [Your future sister-in-law] has quite the most exquisite manners of anyone I have ever come across. You would do well to follow her example.
- You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.
- It is tragic that you have diabetes. However, you aren’t the only young person in the world who is a diabetic.
- I know quite a few young people who have this condition, one of whom is getting married in June. I have never heard her discuss her condition.
- She quietly gets on with it. She doesn’t like being diabetic. Who would? You do not need to regale everyone with the details of your condition or use it as an excuse to draw attention to yourself. It is vulgar.
- As a diabetic of long standing you must be acutely aware of the need to prepare yourself for extraordinary eventualities, the walk to Mothecombe beach being an example.
- You are experienced enough to have prepared yourself appropriately.
- No-one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.
I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters’ marriages.)
If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.
One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie.