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Subverting gender laws of the jungle

Subverting gender laws of the jungle

“Boys will be boys” is a popular refrain in schools. A bit of rough and tumble at break time? That’s natural. Likewise, “girls will be girls” is accepted without question. Some feel justified in assuming that female students will choose to compete only in small peer groups and will do so by criticising or excluding one another. Again, this is deemed “natural”. These preconceptions about the behavioural tendencies of the sexes tend – consciously or unconsciously – to influence how teachers react to students’ actions and thus how behaviour management in schools is conducted. But would we respond differently if it could be proved that the behaviours we labelled as natural were nothing of the sort? Could it be that we are encouraging behaviours that are nurtured rather than innate?
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