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For The Love of Boys

As a mother and educator of growing boys, I have to admit (after pulling my hair out) that there are days when I (as a woman) am not effective. Let’s face it, boys and girls think differently and this tends to impact learning.

This has nothing to do with grades, tests, or even how well these students know information literacy; because my true belief is, A BOY WHO IS ENGAGED will master everything. However, (and there’s always a however) finding the key to unlock the treasures boys inherently have hidden is very difficult. I call this the finesse syndrome…educators either have it or they don’t.

But here’s what I do know about boys (humble opinion of course and not to be trite)
1) they respond very well to the Google Earth, and other challenges that “us gals” may not find as engaging. 
2) they love a challenge and pats on the back when they solve real life problems. I found that out tonight after my son “lost” and found his pet snake after a full hour of searching.
3) they don’t respond very well to “top down” discipline. There has to be a say from them…and never embarrass a boy.  Their waters and emotions run deeper than we know.

So, I guess my question for anyone is, “What will be the catalyst to spark our boys to want to learn and uncover the many unknowns that they are so good at finding out?”  I guess historical figures like Ben and Martin are good starting points; but feel free to share your strategies because according to Newsweek writer Peg Tyre, “Books including Michael Thompson’s best seller “Raising Cain” (recently made into a PBS documentary) and Harvard psychologist William Pollack’s definitive work “Real Boys” have become must-reads in the teachers’ lounge.” 

Tyre also writes, which is really troubling, “By almost every benchmark, boys across the nation and in every demographic group are falling behind. In elementary school, boys are two times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and twice as likely to be placed in special-education classes.

How do we help our boys?!  Let’s put aside our respective domains and share some solutions.

-Amy Bowllan