In these essays the writers back up there views with examples of how either man or woman has been oppressed throughout the history of education. While Adrienne Rich is talking mainly about the college system and David Thomas is talking about the school system in general, their views do conflict each other. Rich believes that women have been exploited throughout the history of time. Thomas on the other hand believes that by being forced to have women teachers has disadvantaged boys.
Though these views do no directly conflict, they are pretty close. Rich tells why she feels that women have been oppressed and Thomas tells why he feels that boys have been disadvantaged. In Rich”s essay “What Does a Women Need to Know? ” she argues that women have been demoralized throughout time. Rich says “when we think of what an independent women”s college might be: a college dedicated both to teaching women what women need to know and, by the same token, to changing the landscape of knowledge itself. (Rich 45)
This means that she believes that women should be taught the skills that they will need to succeed in life as a wife and as a “self conscious, self-defining human being. ” (Rich 45) She then gives examples of her life experiences and how her life experiences with men trying to force her to think and see things one way, and how she struggled to see things from a different perspective, “through the eyes of an outsider. ” (Rich 46) She ends her speech by talking about how these women have to change the ways of the past and they have to step into the now and become educated of the past and present.
She ends the speech with, “Get all of the knowledge and skill that you can in whatever professions you enter; but remember that most of your education must be self-education, in learning the things that women need to know and in calling up the voices we need to hear within ourselves. ” (Rich 50) The David Thomas essay “The Mind of Man” is about how boys are shot down at an early age. In a writing from the Independent on Sunday Toney Mooney says “Women teachers find boys too noisy, too aggressive, too boisterous.
Unconsciously or not, they consistently reinforce and reward more ‘feminine” behavior. If all this is true it is understandable that boys should not be as advanced as girls in the hands of woman junior school teachers. There is a direct relationship between a child”s academic achievement and a favorable response from the teacher. ” (Thomas 339) To prove this fact there was an experiment done with seventy-two boys and sixty girls at kindergarten. They were taught to read on a self-teaching machine and then they were tested.
The boys did better than the girls. Then they resumed normal classroom instruction by women teachers. The children were tested again and this time the boys” scores were lower than the girls. It is not a prejudice that women or men have against the children, it is a understanding of what the child is going through because the teacher has been in that position at one time in their lives. It is a common ground that the male teachers have with the male students and vice versa.
Thomas talks about how a single sex environment is not always the answer either. He attended an all boys” boarding school and he was “taught in a system that was designed to bring the best out of boys, intellectually, creatively and on the sports field. ” (Thomas 341) He says that it is a better venue to learn but he says, “I was painfully aware of the distorting affect that an all-male institution was having on my own emotional development and that of my classmates. (Thomas 341)
He says that some people cannot handle this environment and it will lead to “disaster” (Thomas 341) In conclusion I would have to agree with Thomas. I am a little biased but women teachers have personally disadvantaged me. I also worked in a pre-school over the summer where the teachers are mostly women. I witnessed this discrimination first hand. I disagree with Rich because I think that today women and men pretty much stand on even ground. I think that there is more discrimination against men then there is against women.
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