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Teaching Boys…

February 16, 2012

In many measures boys are not doing as well as girls in school, and this has been documented worldwide.  As a father of three boys, and as an educator… this is concerning.

An international study, Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices, examined teaching and learning practices in 18 schools in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

The teachers and boys who participated in the study submitted comments and narratives on lesson practices that they felt were effective. There were over 1000 narratives from teachers and 1500 from students, and the researchers looked for patterns in the responses.

The researchers revealed eight patterns about boys and learning that may be helpful to teachers. Boys and teachers participating in the study found lessons effective when they used:

  • Lessons that produced products
  • Lessons structured as games
  • Lessons requiring vigorous motor activity
  • Lessons requiring boys to assume a role or responsibility for promoting the learning of others
  • Lessons that required boy to address “open,” unsolved problems
  • Lessons that required a combination of teamwork and competition
  • Lessons that focused on boys’ personal realization (their masculinity, their values, their present and future social roles)
  • Lessons that introduced dramatic novelties and surprises

The researchers also found that boys are “relational learners.” When they were taught by attentive teachers, using the eight types of lessons, boys were more frequently engaged in the learning.

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