Just a few thoughts, (I’ve been reading up on boys’ education and it seems nothing has changed over the years…disappointingly I could probably, though I won’t, reuse all my work from 5 -10 years ago!) firstly, adapted from Martino, Kehler & Weaver-Hightower (2009):
- girls are not to blame for boys’ underachievement in school
- sitting boys next to girls in the hope that girls’ skills might rug off onto them is not the solution
- it is a generalisation to say that boys don’t enjoy school
- just because some boys enjoy school less than girls doesn’t mean all girls enjoy school
- the widening achievement gap between boys and girls doesn’t mean boys are necessarily doing poorly, it could be girls are improving
- boys’ behaviour may be described as poor BUT what impact is it having on the girls AND on boys whose behaviour is not poor?
- behaviour – who owns it?
- has the attention paid to girls’ education in the past come at the expense of boys?
- Senn’s article EFFECTIVE APPROACHES TO MOTIVATE AND ENGAGE RELUCTANT BOYS IN LITERACY (2012) has some excellent points but it’s a similar message – boys are disinterested and we need to appeal to their sense of adventure. “The idea is not to ignore or pay less attention to the girls in our classrooms, but to broaden our thinking to include the specific needs of our boys and what they can achieve…” (p. 212)
So then what do we mean…the problem with boys? The problem is not just with boys, or with girls, I think the problem lies in the teaching and learning – not all of it BUT enough to suggest that we could do things better.