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Boys' learning - Brent Mawson
 

Boys' learning - Brent Mawson

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The presentation that goes with Brent Mawson's information and challenging talk on gendered play and how boys learn. ...

The presentation that goes with Brent Mawson's information and challenging talk on gendered play and how boys learn.

Brent has presented this in a variety of settings now, and we have put it up on ecetogether as the result of a request to share it at the March 2010 Manukau Early Childhood Network meeting.

You can contact Brent via b.mawson@auckland.ac.nz.

Many thanks to Brent for permission to share this.

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  • Discuss quote, set out aims of the session, to start the debate, give them the opportunity to reflect on their current beliefs and practices, and to offer suggestions for change.

Boys' learning - Brent Mawson Boys' learning - Brent Mawson Presentation Transcript

  • FACULTY OF EDUCATION The University of Auckland New Zeala1and
  • Encouraging boys’ learning in early childhood Dr. Brent Mawson Faculty of Education University of Auckland
  • Aims of presentation
    • To identify gender differences in play and relationships
    • To suggest areas of play of importance to boys learning
    • To provide some strategies to encourage boys learning through play
  • Issues
    • Gendered workforce
    • Gendered play
    • boys’ performance in school
  • Gendered workforce
    • Women <98.5% (16000+)
    • Men >1.5% (150-180)
    • Male ‘role model’
  • Research literature – Gender Differences
    • Active-forceful play
    • Play near adults
    • Stereotyped active play
    • Competition vs negotiation
    • Affect of capability of play partner
    • Communication of play partner
    • Degree of collaborative speech
    • Type of speech to partner
    • Ways in which attempts to influence partners play are done
    • Influence of friendship vs activity
    • Amount of cooperative, cohesive turn-taking
    • Amount and complexity of fantasy play
    • Themes in fantasy play
    • Preferences for toys and props
    • Constructive vs functional play
    • Leadership styles
    • Strategies to gain power in play group
    • Relational vs physical aggression
    • Choices in out-door play
    • Involvement in rough and tumble play.
  • Two Cultures Theory
    • For
        • Maccoby, E. E. (1998). The two sexes: growing up apart, coming together . Cambridge, Massachusetts.: The Belknap Press.
    • Critque
        • Goodwin, M. H. (2006). The hidden life of girls: Games of stance, status, and exclusion . Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
        • Underwood, M. K. (2004). Gender and peer relations: Are the two gender cultures really all that different? In J. B. Kupersmidt & K. A. Dodge (Eds.), Children's peer relations: From development to intervention . Washington, DC.: American Psychological Association.
  • The tyranny of pink If you're the parent of a little girl, you'll understand: their world has turned decidedly pink, and there's no escaping it. The effect, says Eleanor Bailey, is like living in a one-party state run by Barbie - sinister, fascistic and devoid of any choice * Eleanor Bailey * The Guardian, Saturday 29 March 2008
  • Important areas of boys’ play
    • Rough and tumble play
    • Mixed gender play
    • Literacy activities
    • Technological activities
    • War/super hero play
  • Benefits of rough and tumble play
    • R& T serves three potential functions – affiliation (form and maintain friendships), dominance (establish social hierarchy and therefore minimise conflict) and social skill facilitation (popularity).
    • Encourages the pretence play of boys which tends to be more fantastic and physically vigorous, often co-occurring with play fighting and superhero themes.
    • Boys use rough and tumble play to express care for one another and to develop friendships.
    • Aids self esteem. Prescription of aggressive play impacts on the self-esteem of boys, also affects the self-confidence of girls to engage in active and boisterous play scenarios.
    • Allows risky play. Rough-and-tumble play is a fine balance between play fighting and real fighting. Keeping the play situation on the borderline between play fighting (pure exhilaration) and real fighting (pure fear) is one of the central points of this kind of play.
  • Strategies to incorporate and manage rough and tumble
    • Define protocols with children
        • No involvement with children that don’t want to play
        • No punching or hitting with an object. Stopping the moment someone says they don’t want to play.
    • Define area
    • Yellow/red cards
    • Put risk and challenge into obstacle courses
    • Introduce games with rules – touch rugby
  • Benefits of mixed-gender play
    • Allows boys to experience and assume leadership roles/styles not available in boy’s play
    • Encourages a greater complexity and use of oral language, a key element in learning to read
    • Introduces a wider range of narratives and contexts to play
    • Can serve to reduce power of gender stereotypes
  • Strategies to encourage mixed gender play
    • Need for realistic props for boys
    • More of same uniforms better than one of many
    • Props that will allow mixed gender play with roles acceptable and comfortable for all.
    • Flexible materials rather than fixed or directive resources (Cardboard boxes, blocks vs duplo)
    • Integrating areas – blocks and home corner
    • Stories/visits/ to provide provocation for children’s own narratives, can include positive superhero scenarios.
  • Benefits of literacy experiences
    • May help overcome boy’s lower levels of achievement in the early years of schooling.
    • Increase levels and complexity of oral communication, a key indicator in learning to read.
    • Provides examples of negotiation and collaboration
  • Strategies to develop literacy
    • Stories/visits/ to provide provocation for children’s own narratives, can include positive superhero scenarios.
    • Encouraging story telling
    • Choice of books in library corner and read at group times. Boys more often prefer information texts
    • Seeking opportunities to suggest ways of incorporating literacy activities into dramatic play or construction play e.g. treasure maps, road signs, supply lists for the rocket ship
    • Encouraging acting out of stories that have strong actions within them – e.g.Three Billy Goats Gruff, Jack and the Beanstalk.
    • Using popular culture characters/plots as basis for dramatic play.
    • Books that reflect boy’s home life and culture
    • Invite male parent’s in to read stories to the children
    • Drawing and writing materials readily available in the block corner, sandpit, and carpentry table
    • Saw licences
    • Provide large movable items in the outdoor space so that children can build own sets – rocket ships, fire engines,
  • Benefits of technological experiences
    • Caters for boys’ interests in designing and making things
    • Facilitates collaboration with adults and other children
    • Provides opportunities to plan and evaluate an outcome.
    • Focuses attention on made-world
    • Provides context for development of a range of tool usage and representation skills
  • Strategies to encourage technology
    • Ensure that you have a wide range of appropriate tools -e.g. a range of sharp saws
    • Provide a wide range of materials and fixing/joining methods
    • Put paper and drawing materials in the block corner, next to the carpentry table, by the sandpit and encourage children to draw their ideas before and after making them
    • Put blocks and other construction materials in the book corner and encourage children to build structures they see in the books.
    • Monitor your questions and concentrate on asking questions which allow children to focus on and talk about their technological practice.
    • Read non-fiction ‘ te chnical ’ books at mat time.
    • Model different types of drawing, discuss and display them.
    • Encourage children to reflect on, modify and rework their solutions to technological problems
    • Encourage children to question not only their own designs, but also the designed world they live in.
    • Play and experiment with materials and tools and joining, fixing, shaping , combining methods yourself. Your own confidence and competence is really important to the children’s learning.
    • Become more actively involved in construction set play to encourage development of concepts and complexity of play.
  •  
  •  
  • Benefits of war/superhero play
    • Allows boys to explore certain narratives of masculinity
    • Superhero play may give children needed sense of power in a world dominated by adults, may enable them to work through anxiety and fear of own safety, and express anger and aggression in socially acceptable ways.
    • War play is especially well-suited for influencing the political and moral ideas children develop – power and conflict, right and wrong, good and evil, safety and danger, friends and enemies.
    • Can learn impulse control
    • Defines boundaries between real and pretend
    • Allows opportunities to see other points of view
    • Encourages autonomy by giving sense of control and power
    • May help them understand events in the world around them/
    • May be important in boys development of gender identity, the search for male role models
  • Holland, P. ( 2003 ). We don't play with guns here: War, weapon and superhero play in the early years . Maidenhead : Open University Press .
    • Recognition that zero tolerance was not working
    • Team commitment to develop new policy, putting aside personal views and agendas
    • Trial period (6 months) relaxing policy. Only limit, no shooting at people. However war, weapon and superhero play still remained within framework of general behaviour policy (e/.g. no real aggression and fighting, no intimidating or interfering with others play.)
    • Information letter to parents explaining change
    • Introduced new policy gradually as incidents arose, rather than implementing en masse
    • Change of teacher role,
        • more costumes added and props made,
        • more intervention to extend play when children got stuck
        • help children develop and clarify roles for superheros,
        • talk about the pretend world of acting,
        • discuss real heroes,
        • explore related concepts such as artists,
        • help children recognize the humane characteristics of superheroes,
        • and give children control over their own lives by sharpening their conflict resolution skills to come up with alternatives to violence and aggression. 
        • In longer term, decrease of mount of war, weapon and superhero play, more meaningful contexts developed, with more complex, creative role play. Greater involvement by girls, increase in number of mixed-gender play groups.
  • Levin, D. E., & Carlsson-Paige, N. (2006). The war play dilemma (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press .
    • Limit children’s exposure to violence, including violent media and products linked to it, as much as possible.
    • Help children learn to engage in creative meaningful dramatic play of all kinds
    • When children engage in war play, learn as much as you can about the nature of the play and the issues they are working on,
    • In children’s war play address the issues raised by both the developmental and sociopolitical sides of the war play dilemma
    • Work to counteract the lessons about violence and stereotyping that children may be learning in their war play
    • Make keeping the play safe your highest priority
    • Limit the use of highly structured violent toys and encourage the use of open-ended toys and play materials
    • Work to counteract the highly stereotyped and limiting gender roles that characterise most war play and help children develop a broad range for themselves as boys and girls
    • Create an on-going dialogue between educators and parents about the children’s war, weapons and superhero play