For a generation of students already dangerously inclined toward isolation, shuttered schools are a disaster across the board. The pandemic-induced closures, however, present particular difficulties for young women.
For a generation of students already dangerously inclined toward isolation, shuttered schools are a disaster across the board. The pandemic-induced closures, however, present particular difficulties for young women, alienated from the regular social learning opportunities and in-person relationships they need, forced to connect with pixels instead of peers.
Take it from Girls Inc., a feminist educational nonprofit, which emphasizes on its website that “social and emotional learning is essential for girls to thrive.” According to Girls Inc., their research demonstrates that social and emotional learning “does indeed play a critical role in girl development,” confirming what most of us know intuitively.
“Not only do social-emotional skills correspond with higher levels of diligence, perseverance, leadership, standing up for one’s beliefs and fairness, social responsibility, and self-regulation,” the group notes, “but educating girls in social-emotional learning also produces higher academic performance.” That is enormously difficult to replace with virtual experiences.
I see my seven-year-old granddaughter every Sunday. Her twin brother misses school, and misses his friends, but not like his sister. She tends to be more of a talker. When the twins were relegated to virtual learning in the spring, she spent a great deal of time looking at all of the messages the kids sent to the teacher while her brother simply followed instructions and submitted his work. She really needed to see her classmates. She missed the social interactions.