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girls and education

Dawn Johnson imhere at hardy.u.washington.edu
Fri Jan 22 01:46:11 EST 1993

I have just read all the letters about early educationa and girls and I find it
fascinating and would like to add my input.
I have a feeling I'm younger than most of those posting (not even 20).
I grew up on a diary farm in Wisconsin and I decided i was going to do field
research like Jane Goddall (except with cats not primates) and I haven't given
up that dream yet.
Living on the farm I think was a very important factor for my devlopment.  I
learned to appreciate nature and myself.  I was an only child for five years 
and in that time I developed a very strong 'ME' streak.  this translates to:
I will have things my way.  Fortunately I've learned to control that a little
 but only when necessary.  Lower level school was pretty useless to me.  
Especially in the American system where it's pretty rotten (though my brothers
say it's improving).  I had one good bio teacher and one extremely bad one (he
 couldn't even pronounce words properly).  
I think the teachers that actually influenced me the most were my 4th grade
 teacher who helped me survive my parent's divorce and without his general
guidance I don't think I'd be here today and my english teacher in 11th and
 12 th grade, who both helped me sharpen my intellect and my tongue - for
which I will forever be grateful.
As to subconscious discrimination, I think that's is severly diminished now 
adays.  In my classes there are just as many silent men as women.  And there
 are women who just as vocal and listened to as the vocal males.  There seems
 to a growing tendency where men say alot without saying anything while women 
say things that are useful.
But that could be just my own personal experiences.
I also haven't ever gotten any 'you can't do this' garbage from anyone.  
Or I just don't hear it.My point:
I think what's most important is that individuality and self-confidence no
 matter what the field encouraged all through education but especially before
 junior high.  And get rid of the science teachers who are teaching because
they couldn't succeed in science so they went into teaching.  All my bad
teachers were post-college dropouts.  My good teachers enjoyed teaching and
choose to go into teaching not forced to.
Sorry this got so long.

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