What is the problem with boys?

In a English Faculty meeting we looked at one of the key topical issues at the moment. It comes up a lot and it got put back into the spolight after exam results have shown an issue with boys achievement. We discussed the issues, and three themes came up in terms of boys are their habits in English classes:

  • Writing too succinct. Not developing points, expanding their discussion – more likely to toss an answer on the page and stick with it.
  • Accuracy of writing. Too lazy with punctuation, not interested in grammar.
  • Engagement a battle. Looking a text choice is really important. Texts without ‘boy’ things can really turn off the punter.

After this discussion I found my way over to the TKI ‘Success for Boys’ site. The research seems to point to systemic issues (probably outside of my control). The success factors suggested don’t entirely change my world, but some are worth mentioning here:

  • Listen and talk with the boys at your school about their concerns and hopes for the future.
  • Talk with teachers and curriculum leaders about effective strategies to engage boys in learning.
  • Talk with families and whānau about how their boys are doing and what they want them to achieve.

I do like the reminder of listening to the boys. I think if the department is to make any plan to address the success levels of our boys, the first thing is to listen to what they have to say and have input from their whanau. It makes me wonder how often I talk at the disengaged students, rather than talk with.


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