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Posts Tagged ‘Teaching boys’

Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

July 31, 2016

behavior-cartoon

 

Written by Josh Work courtesy of edutopia:

 

1. Set the Tone

I firmly believe that a student’s misbehavior in the past does not necessarily equate to future indiscretions. At the beginning of the school year, I would walk down to the sixth grade teachers with my new class lists and ask questions. I would inquire about who works well together, who probably should not sit next to each other, and who caused them the most grief. Not surprisingly, teachers would share the names of the same students that were their “tough kids.” If I had the privilege of having any of these students in my class, I looked forward to it instead of dreading it.

Usually during the first week of school, I would try to have individual conferences with these tough kids. I’d take this as an opportunity to clear the air and wipe the slate clean. Often, these students can feel disrespected because their teachers already have preconceived ideas about how they are the troublemakers. Explain that you respect them and have high expectations for them this year. Lay the foundation for the student’s understanding that you believe in him or her, because you might be the only one who genuinely does.

2. Be a Mentor

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that some of the toughest kids to teach come from very difficult home situations. Inconsistent housing, absentee parent(s), lack of resources, and violence are only a few examples of what some of these students have to face every day. Kids that are neglected at home can act out in school to receive attention, good or bad. They want someone to notice them and take an interest in their lives.

Don’t forget how important you are in helping your students develop not just academically, but also socially. Make an effort to show you care about them, not just their grades. Be proactive instead of reactive. The key to being a good mentor is to be positive, available, and trustworthy. One year with a great mentor can have a lasting, positive impact on a tough kid’s life.

3. Make Connections

Part of being a great mentor is your ability to make connections with these tough kids. Since these students sometimes don’t have anyone encouraging them or taking an interest in their lives, have a real conversation about their future or dreams. If they have nothing to share, start talking about their interests — sports, music, movies, food, clothing, friends, siblings, etc. Find a way to connect so that they can relate to you. Start off small and show a genuine interest in what they have to say. Once you’ve made a positive connection and the student can trust you, you’d be surprised how fast they might open up to talking about their hopes, fears, home life, etc. This is when you need to exercise professional discretion and be prepared for what the student might bring up. Explain that you do not want to violate his or her trust but that, as an educator, you are required by law to report certain things.

4. Take it Personally (In a Good Way)

Teachers need to have thick skin. Students may say things in an attempt to bruise your ego or question your teaching abilities. Remember, we are working with young children and developing adults. I’m sure you said some hurtful things that you didn’t mean when you were growing up. Students can say things out of frustration or boredom, or that are triggered by problems spilling over from outside of your classroom. Try to deal with their misbehavior in the classroom — they might not take you seriously if you just send them to the office every time they act out. These are the moments when they need a positive mentor the most.

Once trust has been established, remind these students that you believe in them even if they make a mistake. I’ve vouched for kids during grade team meetings only to have them get into a fight at lunch the same day. They make mistakes, just like we all do. It’s how we respond to their slip-ups that will determine if they’ll continue to trust us. Explain that you’re disappointed in their actions and that you know they can do better. Don’t write them off. Tough kids are used to being dismissed as hopeless. Instead, show them that you care and are willing to work with them. Helping a tough kid overcome personal issues isn’t something that happens overnight, but it is a worthwhile investment in his or her future.

5. Expect Anything and Everything!

All of our students come from a variety of cultures, nationalities, and home environments, and these five techniques that have worked for me might barely scratch the surface of how you interact with the tough kids in your classroom. If you have another method that has helped you reach out and connect to a tough kid, please share it below in the comments section.

 

 

Click on the link to read Watch a Teacher Go Berserk Over the Most Trivial Thing (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

Click on the link to read Teacher Threatens to Give Away TV Show Spoilers if Class Misbehaves

Click on the link to read Teacher Called Cops Because Students Planned to Sabotage Class Photograph

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Our Education System Betrays Boys

December 16, 2013

boy

It bothers me when, as a result of girls outperforming boys on standardised tests, the assumption is made that girls are better equipped to succeed as they are inherently more academic.

Perhaps that assumption is true, but has it been thoroughly tested? What, if anything, has been done to change the way boys are being taught?

Dr. Kevin Donnelly, one of the sharpest minds in education policy and analysis is right to raise a few challenges which have, in his view, prevented boys from having an equal chance to shine in the classroom:

As to why our education system discriminates in favour of girls the reasons aren’t hard to find. As argued by the American author Michael Gurian “male and female brains learn differently” with girls maturing before boys in terms of academic ability, being able to socialise and interact with others and being more articulate expressing emotions.

When it comes to teaching primary school children how to read the most popular approach, called whole language where readers are told to look and guess, favours girls.

Boys need a highly structured, systematic model of reading based on phonics and phonemic awareness where they learn the relationship between letters and sounds and combinations of letters and sounds – the very approach no longer taught.

Since the late ’60s and early ’70s, mainly due to the rise of feminism and the fact that there are so few male primary school teachers, the way teachers teach and the way classrooms are structured have been feminised.

Teachers no longer stand at the front of the room and children are expected to direct their own learning in open, mixed ability classrooms. As a result, boys are easily distracted, become behavioural problems and soon fall behind.

The fact that a lot of learning adopts an open-ended, inquiry approach where teachers become guides by the side and facilitate instead of directing what should happen also works against boys’ preferred learning styles.

Boys need clear direction, explicit goals, timely feedback and an orderly classroom environment where they know what they have to do and what constitutes pass and fail.

Boys also need to be taught to respect authority and to have teachers prepared to enforce a disciplined environment where there are consequences for misbehaviour.

While there is no doubt that many women are still discriminated against and that significant issues like domestic violence must be addressed, it’s also true that making education more girl friendly shouldn’t mean that boys lose out.

Click on the link to read  Are Kindergarten Teachers Biased Against Boys?

Click on the link to read Should We Include Feminism in the Curriculum?

Click on the link to read Arguments For and Against Single-Sex Education

Click on the link to read The Perfect Example of Courage and Self-Respect

Are Kindergarten Teachers Biased Against Boys?

January 5, 2013

unhappy

A study seems to show that boys are marked unfairly in the early years:

Academics from the University of Georgia and Columbia University think they have more insight into why girls earn higher grades on report cards than boys do, despite the fact that girls do not necessarily outperform boys on achievement or IQ tests.

Christopher Cornwell, head of economics at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, UGA’s David Mustard and Columbia’s Jessica Van Parys have published a study that they say shows “gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls.”

The researchers analyzed data from 5,800 elementary school students and found that boys performed better on standardized exams in math, reading and science than their course grades reflected. The authors suggest that girls are truly only outperforming boys in “non-cognitive approaches to learning” — defined as attentiveness, task persistence, eagerness to learn, learning independence, flexibility and organization — leading to better grades from teachers. The study is published in the latest issue of The Journal of Human Resources.

Cornwell said in a statement Wednesday that worse grades place boys at a disadvantage for future opportunities, adding that the divide is further worsened by increased competition for jobs as women increasingly enter the workforce.

 

Click on the link to read  Why do Boys Score Better than Girls at Maths?

Click on the link to read Should We Include Feminism in the Curriculum?

Click on the link to read Arguments For and Against Single-Sex Education

Click on the link to read The Perfect Example of Courage and Self-Respect

Why do Boys Score Better than Girls at Maths?

July 31, 2012

At a time when girls are outscoring boys in most subject it is surprising to me that boys still maintain the edge in math. A recent study explains why:

From an early age, boys tend to take a more impulsive approach to math problems in the classroom, which might help them get ahead of girls in the long-run, suggests the latest study to touch on the gender gap in math.

The research claims girls may tend to favor a slow and accurate approach — often computing an answer by counting — while boys may take a faster, but more error-prone tack, calling out an answer from memory. The difference in strategies seems to benefit girls early in elementary school but swings in favor of boys by middle school.

“In our study, we found that boys were more likely to call out answers than girls, even though they were less accurate early in school,” Drew Bailey, who led the study, said in a statement. “Over time, though, this practice at remembering answers may have allowed boys to surpass girls in accuracy.”

The University of Missouri study followed 300 students from first grade to sixth grade. During those first two years, the boys called out more answers in class than the girls but also had more wrong answers. Girls were more often right, but answered fewer questions and responded more slowly, according to the university. By sixth grade, the boys were still answering more problems than the girls and were also getting more correct.

Click on the link to read Should We Include Feminism in the Curriculum?

Click on the link to read Arguments For and Against Single-Sex Education

Click on the link to read The Perfect Example of Courage and Self-Respect

Arguments For and Against Single-Sex Education

July 8, 2012

I am glad that I teach both boys and girls in my Grade 3 classroom.  I find it more challenging and the social dynamic can be quite fascinating. At the same time, I can understand why many prefer a single-sex classroom to a co-ed one.

Below are some popular arguments put forwards in favour of single-sex classrooms:

  • Some parents don’t want their children to be in mixed-gender classrooms because, especially at certain ages, students of the opposite sex can be a distraction.
  • Leonard Sax and others agree that merely placing boys in separate classrooms from girls accomplishes little. But single-sex education enhances student success when teachers use techniques geared toward the gender of their students.
  • Some research indicates that girls learn better when classroom temperature is warm, while boys perform better in cooler classrooms. If that’s true, then the temperature in a single-sex classroom could be set to optimize the learning of either male or female students.
  • Some research and reports from educators suggest that single-sex education can broaden the educational prospects for both girls and boys. Advocates claim co-ed schools tend to reinforce gender stereotypes, while single-sex schools can break down gender stereotypes. For example, girls are free of the pressure to compete with boys in male-dominated subjects such as math and science. Boys, on the other hand, can more easily pursue traditionally “feminine” interests such as music and poetry. One mother, whose daughter has attended a girls-only school for three years, shares her experience on the GreatSchools parent community: “I feel that the single gender environment has given her a level of confidence and informed interest in math and science that she may not have had otherwise.”

 

Below are some arguments put forward by critics of single-sex classrooms:

  • Few educators are formally trained to use gender-specific teaching techniques. However, it’s no secret that experienced teachers usually understand gender differences and are adept at accommodating a variety of learning styles within their mixed-gender classrooms.
  • Gender differences in learning aren’t the same across the board; they vary along a continuum of what is considered normal. For a sensitive boy or an assertive girl, the teaching style promoted by advocates of single-sex education could be ineffective (at best) or detrimental (at worst). For example, a sensitive boy might be intimidated by a teacher who “gets in his face” and speaks loudly believing “that’s what boys want and need to learn.”
  • Students in single-sex classrooms will one day live and work side-by-side with members of the opposite sex. Educating students in single-sex schools limits their opportunity to work cooperatively and co-exist successfully with members of the opposite sex.
  • At least one study found that the higher the percentage of girls in a co-ed classroom, the better the academic performance for all students (both male and female). Professor Analia Schlosser, an economist from the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at Tel Aviv, found that elementary school, co-ed classrooms with a majority of female students showed increased academic performance for both boys and girls. In high school, the classrooms with the best academic achievement were consistently those that had a higher percentage of girls. Dr. Schlosser theorizes that a higher percentage of girls lowers the amount of classroom disruption and fosters a better relationship between all students and the teacher.
  • The American Council on Education reports that there is less academic disparity between male and female students overall and a far greater achievement gap between students in different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, with poor and minority students children faring poorly. Bridging that academic chasm, they argue, deserves more attention than does the gender divide.
  • Single-sex education is illegal and discriminatory, or so states the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) . In May 2008, the ACLU filed suit in federal court, arguing that Breckinridge County Middle School’s (Kentucky) practice of offering single-sex classrooms in their public school is illegal and discriminatory. The school doesn’t require any child to attend a single-sex class, yet the suit argues that the practice violates several state and federal laws, including Title IX and the equal Educational Opportunities Act.

 

Reading “Adds a Year to Children’s Education’

February 8, 2012

I’m not sure where Mr. Gibb gets his measurements from, but there is no doubt that our children are not investing nearly enough time to reading. Similarly, if children were to radically change their reading habits, strong improvement would surely follow:

Nick Gibb, the School Minister, said that reading books for just half an hour a day could be worth up to 12 months’ extra schooling by the age of 15.

Speaking ahead of today’s announcement, Mr Gibb said: “Children should always have a book on the go. The difference in achievement between children who read for half an hour a day in their spare time and those who do not is huge – as much as a year’s education by the time they are 15.

He added: “There is a group of children who can read but won’t read – the reluctant readers.

Currently, as many as one-in-six children are still struggling to read when they leave primary school, figures show. One-in-10 boys aged 11 has a reading age no better a seven-year-old.

Failure to pick up the basics at a young age is believed to have serious long-term consequences. A recent international report showed that almost four-in-10 teenagers in England never read for pleasure – considerably more than in other countries.

As teachers, we are responsible not only for seeing to it that our students read at home, but also that they grow to appreciate books. It is essential that our primary teachers choose relevant, engaging books to read to their students whenever the time permits.

The Unique Challange of Teaching Boys

January 31, 2012

There is no doubt in my mind that teaching boys is a more difficult proposition than teaching girls. It is also clear to me that boys have suffered from a traditional classroom setup which has proven far less successful in engaging them than it has for girls.

Currently in Australia, local television station ABC1 is showing a brilliant series entitled, Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary School For Boys. Gareth is a choir master and isn’t qualified to teach, but takes on an 8 week trial with a group of underperforming boys in an attempt to improve their literacy skills.

Mr. Malone draws on his three rules for teaching boys:

1. Make the work feel like play.

2. Have a real sense of competition

3. Have a real sense of risk.

I have just finished watching the first episode and fell in love with his unique and creative style. I also enjoyed watching his colleagues putting down his methods, clearly a byproduct of feeling threatened by this novice.

Below is episode 1 in its entirety. All episodes are available on YouTube.


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