Friday, October 15, 2010

Series on "how school is failing boys"

The Globe and Mail is beginning a new series tomorrow, taking a look at “why school is failing boys.”

They say that boys earn lower grades overall than girls in elementary school and high school. They do more poorly than girls in reading and writing and they are more likely to have to repeat a grade or to drop out of school.

Girls are also more likely to go to university: they make up 60 per cent of undergraduates.

Boys are more likely to say they feel disengaged with school, they spend less time studying (or none at all) and to report that neither they nor their friends plan to go to university.

The Globe plans to examine reasons for these statistics including:
  • Textbooks, long criticized for being sexist, have been revised but the pendulum may have swung too far. Most of the “smart” pictures of happy and productive kids are girls and the “bad” pictures are of boys doing destructive or ill-advised activities.
  • Parental expectations for boys are too low. Only 60 per cent of parents said they expect their son to get a degree. (Ten per cent lower than for daughters.)
An article by Carolyn Abraham which will be published in tomorrow’s Globe and Mail, notes that a recent wide-ranging study of youths found that the top four predictors of which teenager will go to university are, in order:
1) Overall marks
2) Reading ability
3) Study habits
4) Parental expectations.

The article says that parents and schools don’t take boys’ interests seriously enough, understand what motivates them, or pay enough attention to their needs or aspirations.

The societal factors may all be true, but I think one should never underestimate the power of parents to change the course of their kids' lives, to encourage boys to do better in school and to help make it a place where he feels engaged.

Never underestimate the power of parents.

Related links
We’ve covered many of these issues in GKR before. Here are some links to previous articles. Also, click on “Boys” in the Labels to get ideas to help get your video-loving or active boy reading, as well as great books for boys:
Boys don’t like school
Boys' and girls' brains develop differently
Getting boys reading: start in the middle

No comments: