INTRODUCTION Boys underachieve at school. That statement is now so clearly understood that it is a cliché. Numerous studies have pointed out the underachievement of boys in schools relative to girls across the western world, especially in areas related to verbal fluency and literacy (see Rowe and Rowe, 1999, Rowe and Rowe, 2000; McGaw, 1996; West,1999). Further, Kraemer talks of a lack of emotional vocabulary in males, which he terms alexythymia (Kraemer 2000). This is a key
This Report summarises the Report of a Project done at The King’s School, Parramatta, Australia, where the author was Researcher in Residence over the years 2000-2003. It was written partly as a background paper for the House of Representatives Standing Committee which produced the Report Boys: Getting it Right in 2002. It encapsulated much work done by the researcher in consultation with the School and earlier in-depth interviews with boys in a cross-section of schools. DOES
Masculinity is always made in a time, a place, and in a culture or cultures. In Fathers, Sons and Lovers I’ve written about being a man in Penrith- a town that grew up near a river and which had later on a railway connecting it to Sydney. There are special qualities about boys growing up in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro or in far-flung parts of China. Or in the islands of Samoa. The present study looks at boys in the outskirts of a large Australian city.
Martin Spafford, a high school teacher in London, observes that boys are under siege. “Boys feel continually attacked for who they are. We have created a sense in school that masculinity is something bad”. (Hoff Sommers 2000:57). INTRODUCTION Why aren’t more men in teaching ? is a question persistently asked in the media and in popular debate (West and Arnold, 2001). It is a question being asked in public and private schools in most of the western world. The question relates
It does not take very much wit to discern that boys in Australia are facing some real challenges. These challenges reflect the challenges faced by men. Men’s lives have changed. Once it was simple: perform, protect, provide. Look after your family, keep a job, play sport. That’s the recipe that men told me kept them going. The territory for men is more uncertain. Women analyse and critique men. Women have the words and pick phrases that they think describe men. Whether these
Boys and books? Where would we start? Kids need to start reading early. Younger boys enjoy sitting on your lap and sharing a story. Make reading a special time you share with kids. Some family favourites are “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “The Great Big Enormous Turnip”. We would say to kids “In bed by 7.30: you can read in bed for half an hour”. It helps for kids to see you with books. Talk to them about books you read. Dad, this means you! Make sure boys have lots of cho
The latest Todd Carney incident is too awful to describe in any decent online journal. Let’s just say that here we have yet another incident of Rugby League footballers behaving badly- and the results are all over the newspapers and TV and Facebook. Football is just one of the “Fs” that trap men today and take them into perilous waters. So let’s start with the first of them -Football. Time and again, footballers seem to be held up as some kind of beacon for men. When I talk a
Schools are not succeeding in capturing the imagination and energy of many boys. Too many boys feel that school is a combination of a hostile authority and meaningless tasks. And governments are concerned because schools are not imparting to many boys the values governments wish them to learn – such as productivity, citizenship and helping the community. Boys and men at risk cost the community in road deaths, suicides and broken families. Men are 90 per cent of the people kep
1. Being a man used to be all about work. Men identified as farmers, bank clerks, plumbers, or teachers, as I found in Fathers, Sons and Lovers: Men Talk about Their Lives from the 1930s to Today. This is still true in part. 2. Men used also to be part of a web of authority that kept society together: fathers, other men, teachers, policemen, clergymen. That web is looking a bit tatty today, with obvious consequences in declining authority in schools and trouble on the street.
I’ve been writing and doing research on boys’ learning for more than twenty years. It’s been such a long struggle! Why is this so? After all these years, we are still stuck. We still can’t agree on where to start. The feminist approach wants to blame boys for many problems in school. Boys are noisy, they play up, annoy teachers and stop good kids from learning. Any time we draw attention to boys’ difficulties in school, these people raise objections. Which boys do we mean? Ar