Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

I have been reading quite a bit around the World Wide Web about raising boys, and the difference there is versus raising girlies.

My mind was jogged at the start of the year, when Max’s nursery leader was away on a course titled ‘Encouraging Creativity In Boys’ or similar.

She got me intrigued.

As did this class. The travel is a killer though.

Apparently the great minds in charge of the educational protocol for our children, are having a renewed look at why boys tend to lag behind the girls until the business end of their schooling.

We certainly are not the only ones, by all accounts, but the achievement level disparity between the sexes is causing some concern, and hopefully will generate some positive action.

I’m sure there is a huge amount of science, or probably more specifically neuroscience, but the outline of this course did not exactly leave me astounded.

Boys have a shorter attention span than girls, and have less interest in traditional academic learning.

Not exactly mind blowing is it?

But at least it is being recognised officially.

Different teaching approaches for the two groups are now being positively encouraged, where the overall impact of the education technique being given priority over shorter-term and more specific measures.

All sounds, or reads, great, but I await this in practice.

The nursery chief is now very keen to demonstrate to the neighbouring school, that boys can learn and thrive, via methods that may look, to the un-trained eye, as simply playing.

In its extreme she said that even the normally controversial playing with toy guns can be a positive. It can help teach right from wrong and the consequences from this type of action.

Doctors and nurses anyone?

This can be taken further and as a tool it can improve a child’s dexterity by assembling, dissembling, loading and unloading.

Drawing can be bought into it too, creating parts lists or writing down the order that things need to be done. Can all act as encouragment for learning other skills.

Personally I have not formulated a huge opinion on that, but I am warmed by this refreshing way of thinking.

There will be a huge change for my son when he makes the switch from nursery to school next September, and I am delighted that we have befriended some families whose children went through it last year. We have learnt a great deal from them.

I just want him to enjoy it.

A happy child is what it is all about for me, and what they achieve or fail to understand, is a huge second to that.

Regardless of dangly bits. Share/Save/Bookmark


sarada said...

I read your blog .it's quite interesting.best of luck to you.love to your son.

harassedmomsramblings said...

While I find the idea of looking for alternative types of teaching that embrace the CHILD, refreshing!

I am not so sure I like that they have "labeled" it according to gender! Its kind of limiting isnt it?

I beleive rather that teaching should be adapted - where it can - to the needs of the child- regardless of dingly bits!

But again I am all for looking at alternative ways of educating kids!!!

Susanna (A Modern Mother) said...

I have three girls, and if the first two had been boys I'm not sure I would have gone for the third.

Please let me know if you want to do any guest posts for londonmumsblog.com or thamesvalleymums.com


Kori said...

I cannot stand the phrase "Boys will be boys," but this sounds like a great way of teaching! Good luck, and I am sure you will let us know!`

Single Parent Dad said...

Saranda - Thanks for reading, I'm glad you find us mildly entertaining.

Harassedmom - Yeah. Teaching SHOULD be child specific rather than generalised into groups, but that isn't going to happen here, even if you pay for it!

Susanna - Thanks for your comment, and boys are easy, much less complex I reckon.

Will have to have more of a butchers around those sites.

Kori - I sure will, and just for you I will serialise the updates by numbering the boys will be boys title.

T said...

I completely agree with Harassed Mom. The gender shouldn't matter...but hey, its a start right?

Mama Nabi said...

I am told that girls, at least older ones, do better in sciences if they are in all-girls school. That would save me money on chastity belts and shotgun shooting lessons. I do think there is a certain gender difference... but perhaps not this early...? I mean, LN is learning to fend for herself in different ways - physically against the boys and the psychological warfare with the girls. What a minefield, no? Sigh.

Zoeyjane said...

There actually has been some research - to everyone picking apart the gender bits - that estrogen has a positive effect on learning, espeically in areas of memory retrieval and logical subjects like math and science. So in theory, boys might catch up when their own hormones are not so one-sidedly balanced, towards the end of puberty, say.

That being said, I once read some essays when I was taking a Developmental Psych class about learning in children. Within, a girl with ADD was described as having the same scholastic challenges as a boy without ADD. And I was all, "Eff ya".

Roads said...

Yes, Ian. I think you do need to look out for this, but perhaps not always in the way you imagine.

I went to a Parents' (read Mums') Science Day at the local Primary School recently.

And the problem wasn't that the boys were behaving differently, but rather that the teachers, all female, somehow assumed that the boys would contribute less.

I don't think this attitude was in the least deliberate. But it was pervasive.

We were looking in the pond for newts. The girls were staring so intently and narrowly at the water in front of their noses that one actually fell in and had to be fished out.
Meanwhile, one of the boys was sweeping around the pond energetically with the drag net, making enthusiastic shoom-shoom noises as he fought the resistance of the water. He was a trawler, a river boat, and a hydrological physics experiment, all rolled into one.

"Don't do that, Freddie," barked the elderly teacher.

And I could have wept.

Single Parent Dad said...

T - Absolutely, I don't care how or why they get there, I just hope they keep him stimulated.

Mama Nabi - I don't know, having just witness a small class of kids migrate into reception class at school. I'd say there is a pretty big difference between the two.

Zoeyjane - Estrogen did make concentration difficult at school. Us boys have it tough.

Roads - Yeah, if you're ignored enough, or repeated expected to fail, then you probably will. Very sad.

Iota said...

I am so with you on the "so long as they are happy" approach. I've had to leave a child in tears in a playground (going into school with him only made it worse). How much did he learn on those days, do you suppose?

There aren't enough male teachers in primary schools - that's another very significant factor I'm sure.

Grit said...

i'm sure one of the problems is that identified by your commentors: boys (and girls) tend to be treated as a group with an identikit pattern attached. but here we have it. the school is a mass education system and cannot, truly, respond to the needs and learning styles of individuals. and when they boast about it, how much is rhetoric? hmmm. anymore of this and i'll be home educating instead of lolling about in front of blogs drinking beer.

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