Last week I talked about my meeting with Michael Irwin around educating boys. Having worked extensively in the area of supporting our learners who are failing this topic is one I am passionately interested in. The underachievement of boys is not just a school or national issue but rather an international one. The ERO Report Boys’ Education: Good Practice in Secondary Schools (July 2008) highlights the central issue as being the achievement gap between boys and girls. In this report , they found that looking at the data, boys in New Zealand are over represented in:
• early problems in reading;
• disengagement with school;
• lower achievement in reading and writing; and
• lower qualification attainment.
In his book ‘Educating Boys: Helping kiwi boys succeed at school’ (2009) Michael Irwin discusses the fact that boys are generally fine and don’t need “fixing”. What does need “fixing” according to him are some parenting and teaching practices as well as some aspects of the environments in which boys learn in. His book does challenge some ways they are being taught but also gives practical ideas to address boys educational and social needs. There is much research that supports how boys want to and should be taught.
I am looking forward to being further involved in this topic and will refer back to this topic in my blog.
I had an interesting meeting today.
Michael Irwin and I sat down at Massey University to discuss the differences in engaging boys and girls in the classroom.
Why are boys so disengaged when it comes to certain subjects? and more specifically certain learning exercises?
I will elaborate on our discussion over the coming weeks.
“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
– John F. Kennedy
Though spoken over 50 years ago, the sentiment remains relevant today.
There are many challenges emerging in education through rapidly changing national and international educational trends. By understanding the different views and opinions of industry leaders, taken from extensive research done around the world, we can better equip and prepare our students for the world that awaits them.
Through personal experience I have always tried to keep up to date with the issues facing people of all ages involved in education. I have guided my four sons from early childhood education, through tertiary studies and into the job market. Whilst furthering my own education through graduate and postgraduate studies. Professionally, I have worked as a Deputy Principle in a large Auckland primary school, trying to grapple with the on-going dilemma of how best to equip our students for the future. Having specialised in both special needs and gifted education I have been able to observe different ends of the spectrum and this has provided opportunities to appreciate varying ideas on how best to support learning for the future.