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Educating Boys Successfully:. Presenter: Cheryl Williams Principal Fairhills PS. Based on the work of – . Ian Lillico (Churchill Fellowship report 2000) Joseph Driessen – NZ educator, who now runs a consultancy that specialises in the education of boys. Children and teenagers today.

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educating boys successfully

Educating Boys Successfully:

Presenter: Cheryl Williams


Fairhills PS

based on the work of
Based on the work of –
  • Ian Lillico (Churchill Fellowship report 2000)
  • Joseph Driessen – NZ educator, who now runs a consultancy that specialises in the education of boys
children and teenagers today
Children and teenagers today
  • Are less attentive
  • Are more attention seeking
  • Are more impulsive
  • Are less compliant and more argumentative
  • Are more technically competent
  • Are under more personal pressure
  • Are more globally connected
  • Have higher IQ scores
  • Are more subject to adult turbulence
  • Are more rights oriented
boys hearing
Boys Hearing
  • Boys can’t hear as well as girls
  • A softly spoken woman cannot be heard by boys at the back of the class
  • Boys don’t process language as quickly as girls
  • Boys need to be near front of class if teacher is softly spoken
  • Speak slowly and repeat instructions
  • Male teachers are often perceived to be yelling by girls when they are speaking normally
boys vision
Boys Vision
  • Boys eyes are adapted for movement
  • Girls eyes are adapted for texture and colour
  • Too much disjointed detail can be confusing
  • Young boys draw verbs with little colour
  • Cartoons stimulate boys thinking
  • Try allowing boys to draw cartoon sketches of the writings and then add details to their narratives, from their drawings
boy code
Boy Code

The stronger the Boy Code is in a school, and the younger it occurs, the less chance there is of success for boys, especially in literacy

personal social adjustment
Personal & Social adjustment

Boys fall into four groups –

  • Top group - Well adjusted, thriving and motivated to learn (15-20%)
  • Middle group - Coping, ‘good’ but could potentially do better (50-60%)
  • Lower group – Difficult, rough diamonds, often very lively (10-30%)
  • Bottom group – Often damaged (1-5%)
managing boys as groups
Managing Boys as Groups
  • Thriving boys as Leadership models
  • Coping boys by increasing expectations
  • Difficult boys by Affirmation & Discipline
  • Damaged boys by Removal and Integration
managing damaged boys
Managing Damaged Boys
  • Remove them from peers and high stress, competitive environment
  • Place them with an adult/setting that gives security
  • Provide learning with low key, informal guidance to reduce their stress levels
  • Keep new processes in place for a length of time
  • Re-integrate for short periods (look for child wanting to return and refuse on first request)
  • Have a step by step approach for new start
activating boys development
Activating Boys Development
  • Use positive language – ‘What a fine young man!’ ‘I know you can do it!’
  • Articulate virtues – duty, responsibility, persistence
  • Focus on achievement and the future – ‘Do your very best’, ‘What are your plans for the future?’
building relationships with boys
Building Relationships with Boys
  • The relationships we build with boys is what makes the difference to boys behaviour.
  • We need to break down the pack mentality of boys.
  • Boys react to who they’re with much more than girls
  • Boys respond to people who listen to them
  • Boys need to connect with the teacher before they will succeed (Ian Lillico)
7 quick ways to foster relationships
7 Quick ways to foster relationships
  • Be early for class and have a wonderfully set out classroom
  • Greet students by name as they enter and leave especially the damaged ones
  • Make time to sit next to students talking about their work giving specific feedback
  • From time to time ask small focus groups how they think things are going

5. 5. 5. Ask students to fill out forms about themselves ie hobbies, pets etc, and refer to them in your chats6. Discuss students work, plans, achievements with both of you sitting at your desk7. Mark work regularly and include positive personal comments. Use stickers and stamps

classroom ambience
Classroom Ambience
  • Use of warm white fluorescent lights instead of cool ones because the have red spectrum in them which better engages students
  • Fluorescent lights aren’t conducive to boys settling after being outside
  • Bean bags rather than chairs work well for boys
  • Nebula Balls are good for settling boys
  • Raise the curiosity level in the classroom and the boys will be eating out of your hand!
gender in classrooms
Gender in Classrooms

The average boy is a doer first and a thinker (sometimes!) second – the average girl is a thinker first and a doer second

In terms of effective practice in the classroom, we must centre around getting girls doing and boys thinking!


Compared to girls, the average boy –

  • Has a shorter concentration span
  • Is more easily bored and hence more likely to be disruptive
  • Has less developed verbal and literacy skills
  • Has fewer social and collaborative skills
  • Has poorer listening skills and reflective ability
  • Is poorly organised and lacks planning skills
  • Girls are reflective, step by step (sequential) learners
  • Boys are speculative, trial and error/experiential learners
  • A girl is a natural student – the boy is a boy first and a student (sometimes a poor one!) second
  • Girls tend to balance school work with their social needs whereas boys tend to do one or the other as they multi-task poorly in comparison to girls
  • Girls can defer gratification, boys seek short term and intermediate rewards and attention
teaching strategies for boys
Teaching Strategies for Boys

Boys love to –

  • Touch things
  • Be part of the action
  • Move around as they learn
  • Have learning choices
  • Solve problems
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Know how things work
  • Have lessons outside
  • Like to be trusted and given independence
  • Be involved in unusual, activity based learning eg cooking, drama
  • Receive specific praise
  • Have their efforts acknowledged
  • Encouragement
  • Risk Take

But most importantly –

prefer to talk side by side rather than face to face, especially if they have done the wrong thing!

use boys as learning role models
Use boys as learning role models
  • Senior boys reading to junior boys
  • IT helpers/tutors
  • Librarians – involving boys in the purchasing of new books
  • Class/Assembly power point presentations of class work
  • Homework assistants on a cyclic basis
  • Academic Counsellor/Leader
  • Mentoring junior students
  • Leading assemblies
  • Class visits to junior grades for a purpose
use boys visual learning
Use Boys’ Visual Learning
  • Power point presentations
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Video clips
  • Diagrams, handouts, maps
  • Overhead projector

Currently 80% of all students (both girls & boys) are visual or visual/kinesthetic learners

set a fairly fast pace
Set a fairly fast pace
  • Links to other work they may have already done
  • Expectations – be specific about what you expect
  • Stories – personal anecdotes
  • Time Limits – use of egg timers
  • Quizzes at the end of the lesson to reinforce learning
  • Deadlines (and stick to them)
  • Competitions
  • Standards – raise the bar!
make the content relevant
Make the content relevant
  • Relevant
  • Challenging
  • Logical
  • Coherent
  • Tied to the real world
additional strategies
Additional Strategies
  • Balance individual and group work
  • Balance open/reflective/language centred learning with closed/process/action-centred learning
  • Use a range of assessment methods and weight them evenly
  • Use a wide range of personal and public means to acknowledge and validate achievement
reading strategies for boys
Reading strategies for boys

15% of all classroom time should involve a variety of reading approaches:

  • Teacher reading to the class
  • Teacher reading while students make notes
  • Students read in pairs to each other
  • Students read in pairs while a listener takes notes
  • Students read to one another (in turn) in groups of four
  • Students read individually
behaviour management techniques
Behaviour Management Techniques
  • The behaviour of boys should be modified through praise – never through sanction or punishment
  • Punishment may contain a behaviour but not modify it
  • Punishment can be a reward for a boy as it can secure his prestige in the eyes of his peers
  • Boys need to be ‘caught’ doing things right and praised for it and (generally) ignored when he does things wrongly
  • A ‘broken record’ approach – ‘John, stop that’ and keep repeating it
  • ‘Jack, why have I come over to you?’ ‘Because I am talking.’ ‘Thank you’ (teacher)
  • When unable to establish what has happened, saying ‘On one hand .... And on the other hand ...’ This challenges lies.
  • ‘You’re a great kid, what actions have got you up here in trouble?’
never mix praise and reprimand
NEVER mix praise and reprimand

e.g. “An excellent piece of work – a pity you couldn’t work like this all the time!”

This is crucial for managing the behaviour of boys!

in conclusion
In conclusion...

‘Boys learn teachers, and not subjects!’

Steve Biddulph

Creating the first link where boys can relate to their teacher is critical.

What will you change in your classroom ???


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