I FIND it disturbing that boys who attend nursery or kindergartens are surrounded by female teachers all the time.
It is not that I have something against females, but boys of preschool age need to be around older males that they can look up to. To have a kindergarten full of female teachers and assistants, may not be the most ideal environment for boys.
At such a tender age, boys already need nurturing and input that help them define and comprehend their own gender. At about the age of four, boys begin absorbing the meaning of their masculinity. They also look for direction in the way they conduct themselves in social situations.
As such, they need male role models so as to be able to emulate such characteristics and behavioural patterns.
They also need older male adults whom they look up to, for assessments and approvals.
While female teachers are excellent at guiding children of both genders, there are situations when young boys need to display more male characteristics and behaviour, which I believe is only possible if they had a male mentor.
Although it can be argued that there are fathers and uncles who can pass on these values, boys need input from other sources, too.
In certain cases, a boy can learn more from a male teacher than the child could from his father.
“The lack of masculine input is reflected in schools where the majority of early education teachers are women. Furthermore, the teaching methods of our public schools are ill-suited to the way many boys learn,” write James Rapson and Craig English in their book, Anxious To Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices For The Chronically Nice.
“Recent research has shown that girls’ and boys’ brain develop and function very differently, resulting in boy-behaviours that are considered inappropriate and even offensive in the modern classroom. Once again a boy is subliminally being told that his gender is shameful,” says an excerpt from the book.
A male preschooler’s mischief and antics which are typical traits of a normal, healthy boy, can sometimes be deemed unacceptable and frowned upon from a female perspective.
However, most males may think this is normal, and acceptable, even celebrated!
Let me reiterate that with the presence and nurturing of a male mentor, boys will grow up with the right attitude.
ADRIAN TEEO Penang The STAR Online Education Sunday 03/03/2013