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BBC gives naked computers to kids (hmm, code for something?)


Hi, I'm not Dominic

But I can can relate to this, having a daughter.

When statistically boys outnumber girls 12:1 in computer studies, something is wrong. My daughter is 10, bright, top in maths in her class... and obsessed with hair and nail polish videos and now regards her dad's enthusiastic explanations of maths and science as something tedious, when she used to have an endless stream of questions.

They're right - it's hard. The explanation I've seen is that girls seem to be praised for their innate qualities (like being pretty, and having pleasant personalities) and boys seem to be praised for trying harder. This rings true - in my daughter's school reports the most effusive praise is always for her social interactions with her classmates and the fact that teachers find her a pleasure to teach, not the fact that she's top in maths (I can attest to her ability - she was able to grasp using matrix maths for coordinate transforms years before it actually comes up on the curriculum - when she was still interested in letting dad help with her homework and teach her things outside the planned curriculum).

And persistence is the key to success in complex subjects. The girls gain a self-motivation habit that immediately gives up when instant success is not available, and end up focussing on things that do offer quick results.

It's almost like because we expect boys to be shiftless ill-behaved failures they get the breathing room to develop some expertise in something without crushing expectations of performance, whereas because by now we all know that girls do better academically they suffer when the praise slackens off for even a short while, so they chose subjects without depth that offer this.

I don't dispute your experience and your circle of similar acquaintances - but I wouldn't imagine it was representative of the typical picture. You can't deny that you are the epitome of a self-selected sample. I'd really like to see this imbalance addressed. Viewing the future of my daughter, I'm scared that she's going to be frightfully bored (or possibly just impoverished) in later life if she abandons the possibility of a STEM career for one in art.

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