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.