Thursday, June 24, 2010

Call to Research and to Inspire Males to learn, grow and become the best partners

Some basic questions requiring detailed research:
What is the current enrolment in Canadian medical schools, by gender?
What is the current enrolment in Canadian Faculties of Education, by gender?
What is the current enrolment in Psychology departments, in Canadian universities, by gender?
What is the current enrolmeent in Social Work, in Canadian universities, by gender?
What is the current enrolment in Canadian Veterinary Colleges, by gender?

And why are these questions so important? It is apparent that the next twenty or thirty years will witness a deep imbalance, showing a significantly lower number of male candidates in the above schools. We already know that large animals will have a hard time finding a veterinarian when they need one, because most graduates are female, and refuse to work on farm animals.
Will the same situation exist for young boys in both elementary and secondary schools? Why is there not an active public, financially supported recruitment program to recruit male students for these programs, in all Canadian provinces and territories, especially for the Faculties of Education since male teachers, one would assume, could have a significant impact on boys' decisions to remain in school, and to proceed to post-secondary education.
What is being done, currently, to the curricula being offered by those same Faculties of Education, to educate their prospective teachers about the needs of boys in the classroom?
What, for example, is being done to research and to design curriculum that will achieve the goal of increasing literarcy rates among male students in both elementary and secondary schools, so that those boys will have a wider range of options from which to choose when they enter post-secondary schools?
Is it time for public universities and colleges in Canada to being to consider a program of "affirmative action" in order to engender more applications from male students, and to consider curricular options that will enhance the likelihood of success of those they do attract?

Having taught English Compostion and Literature for nearly a quarter century in Ontario private and public schools, I am deeply aware of the difficulty of "turning on" male adolescents to the mysteries and the wonder of the human imagination as we find it in novels, plays, poems and short stories. Most young men believe, (not think, or speculate or feel, but believe) that such subjects are "for girls" because they concern themselves with matters of emotion and the heart. This truth does not change when those males become husbands and fathers, and if those same men wish to have an option of whether to see a male or a female physician, or a male or female counsellor, or Social Worker...it is time for them to take up some responsibility for bringing literacy to the forefront of their young male children.
Social intelligence, and communications skills are at the centre of the economic life of North American for the foreseeable future, and boys are just as capable as girls of filling the jobs and careers that specifically require those skills. We may do it differently; we may use different vocabularly, and read different books, and watch different movies and plays, and read different poems, but there is no reason why boys cannot grasp both the literal and the symbolic meanings of the writers' chosen words, or his/her brush strokes on the canvas, or his director's notes for the actors in a film.
We humans must not permit the mind-set of the society to be reduced to a definition of a male as a "paycheck" or a mere function, as in construction worker, or electronic engineer.... serving the needs of the "mother corporation".
 Males and females, both, are the repository of all things aesthetic, and all things spiritual and all things of the heart, and when women start to obssess about their specific piece of real estate, rather than their marriage and their family, it is  partly because they do not find their male partner to be "listening" or "present" or "compassionate" or "empathic" or "interested" in things of the heart/spirit/imagination...or willing to converse about those life issues.
And if men either deliberately or by default give up on these various, over-lapping capacities, and characteristics, then our children and grandchildren will indeed begin to wonder, "Where have all the men really gone?"

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