At Issue: Teaching Boys

boy-843484_640As you know, we are all mothers of boys.  We face the daily challenge of keeping the fridge stocked, the socks off the floor and the noise levels to something below ear-splitting.

But what about being mothers to boys in school?  What are the challenges of parenting boys through their academic development?  This week, 4Mothers will be discussing the challenges of teaching boys.

In a 6-part series in 2010, The Globe and Mail investigated a perceived crisis in the education of boys.  In the introductory article, Carolyn Abraham notes that

Boys have been recast as the underdogs of academics. It’s a controversial shift – fuelling a complex battle of the sexes – but these days boys are the ones making news, for falling behind and flunking out, from the U.S. to China, from the U.K. to the Philippines, from New Zealand to Canada.

Subsequent articles in the series looked at the endangered male teacherover-medicating boys, misunderstanding boys, and a call to action to even the balance.

In this article from April 2014, Erin Andersson reports on a study that shows that boys’ poor performance is actually nothing new: boys have been lagging behind girls for the past 100 years:

Boys aren’t falling behind in school. More accurately, they were never ahead.

A new international peer-reviewed study by Canadian researchers has found that over the last 100 years, girls have always done better than boys when it comes to school grades. And not just in language studies, though the gender gap in those subjects is wider: Their findings also hold true in math and science. In those stereotypically “male” subjects, girls have either performed just as well as boys, or do better. These results were not only stable over time, but across nationalities and race. And while boys do make up some ground in math and science in high school, girls still do better than them.

How does our experience measure up to these alarm calls?  Is there a crisis in our own boys’ education?  Stay tuned for our perspectives on teaching boys.

5 thoughts on “At Issue: Teaching Boys

  1. Thank you for this topic! My husband and I are raising three boys, so you speak directly to this mom’s heart.

  2. I will try to say this without being to gender specific. I have heard many say that public education in Canada is in general geared towards kids who can sit in circle and listen. I.e this form of learning suits them. The kids who learn better while moving or while using their hands to build things tend to not do that well and often get labeled as being disruptive. These kids tend to fall behind.

    If math was taught to my son Wyatt through Lego building or through jumping around in the gym or through running around in the forest then I am pretty sure he would excel in the subject.

    I think there is an urgent needs for active active (learning while moving) , outdoor education (learning while outdoors) and building education (learning while building things with ones hands). If there were more options such as these then parents of active boys and girls could send their kids to schools where their love of movement is considered to be an attribute.

    In Toronto there is an outdoor school. Where kids spend 70% of their outside even in the winter!

    • I agree that kinetic and proprioceptive intelligence are not stimulated enough in the regular school day, but I do think that there is more awareness of the need for more movement in the kids’ days. In addition to regular gym classes, our elementary school requires a DPA (daily physical activity). The teachers take the kids outside to run around and burn off steam so that at least those who need to move to think can have some of that energy released. I hope you will enjoy the posts this week.

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