Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Boys and Reading

Are their vast differences between boys and girls? According to my wife, I am an idiot and she is a model citizen. That would be one documented difference. My son CJ refuses to wear dress pants, my daughters Cally and Lily play dress-up almost daily. Another difference. And then we have the whole child-bearing thing.......another major difference. So there are some minor differences between boys and girls, this carries over to school as well. Clearly students learn differently, but how do we help when one gender seems to struggle in one specific area? One of our dedicated teachers passed this article on to me; the subject is boys and literacy.

The Problem of Boys' Literacy Underachievement: Raising Some Questions.
Watson, Kehler & Martino (2010)
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Feb 2010

Female students consistently score better on standarized tests in the area of reading and writing. Some key points about boys and literacy:
  • Not all boys are at risk.
  • Socio-economic status makes a larger difference in scores than gender
  • The real issue appears to be the role of masculinity.
"English is more suited to girls because it's not the way guys think. Most guys who like english are faggots." A student from a 1995 study.
  • Maybe the "crisis" exists because our soceity thinks there is a threat to the social order when females out-perform males
  • Some research indicates female teachers may be the source for poor performance. There is very little research to support this. In fact, most research indicates no correlation between gender and learning styles.
  • Previously proposed solutions (boy-friendly strategies, hiring more male teachers, creation of single-sex classes) have proved largely ineffective.
New Alternatives to increasing male scores in literacy:
  • Try to squash the image that reading is for "nerds"
  • Understanding of what it means "to be a man" must be explored.
  • Incorporate a wide range of materials, including digital and electronic modes of expression
  • Find ways for boys to improve their literacy skills without fear of social reprecussions
Tunes to consider: Oh Girl, Chi-Lites. Howlin' For You, Black Keys. Goin' Up the Country, Canned Heat.

The Red Sox appear to be in serious danger of missing the playoffs for only the 2nd time this decade. I am depressed by the rash of injuries and the shocking lifelessness of these guys.

Mike and Mike have the bears going 6-10 or 5-11. Ridiculous. Anything less than 14-2 would be a disappointment.

1 comment:

  1. The hidden rules remind me of learning about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Students must have food, clothing, and shelter before any effective learning can take place. It is important as educators to keep in mind our student's background and socioeconomic status. If things are falling apart at home, it puts the everyday functioning of school work on the back burner. As teachers, we need to accommodate these students and make them feel safe and welcome when they are in our classrooms because we might be the only support they are getting from an adult figure.