Boys and English

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  • In our faculty, we wanted to get some more specific evidence about the nature of boys� performance in English compared to the state. It seemed as if the 10% top level of result was skewed well and truly away from our candidature. It is a broadly accepted idea that boys are outperformed by girls in English in almost every way. (Interestingly, almost every year the top student in English in the State is a boy). We surveyed about 30 schools in regional NSW - including single sex, co-ed, private, gov and Catholic. 5% Girls in regional NSW got a Band 6. 1% of boys. Why is this so? There seem to be a number of significant elements: * Feminisation of curriculum is often put forward as one * Regional Schools don�t get the �economy of scale� in terms of numbers of very able students. Mention self-starters forming online study groups etc. * Ever reducing levels of reading ability and reduced sophistication of texts being read. * Reduced access to learning support and educational experience. * Lack of strategies specifically to engage boys in English. We�ll consider this.
  • Boys and English

    1. 1. Boys and English <ul><li>Issues, Approaches and Applications </li></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><ul><li>I received an item forwarded by a friend last week entitled, ''Why men shouldn't write advice columns''. A woman, ''Sheila'', had written to an advice columnist, ''John'': </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>''Dear John, the other day I set off for work, leaving my husband at home watching TV. My car stalled, and then broke down about a mile down the road. I had to walk back. When I got home, I found my husband in bed with the neighbour's daughter! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>''I am 32, my husband is 34, and the neighbour's daughter is 19. We have been married for 10 years. When I confronted him he admitted they had been having an affair for six months. I'm a wreck and need advice. Can you please help?'' </li></ul></ul>John replied: ''Dear Sheila, a car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking for debris in the fuel line. If it is clear check the hoses on the intake manifold and all grounding wires. If these checks do not solve the problem, it could be the fuel pump itself is faulty. I hope this helps, John.'' PAUL SHEEHAN March 29, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald
    3. 3. The Armidale School
    4. 4. An Issue. . . .
    5. 5. Advanced English 2008 Cohort Band 6 Comparison State vs Regional NSW
    6. 6. Some Approaches. . . .
    7. 7. Some Approaches to English For Boys <ul><ul><li>Boys seem to like to know what they are doing . . . . and why. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It helps to divide lengthy, complex tasks into manageable, bite-sized chunks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build scaffolds to assist understanding - and then work on removing them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Select texts which are accessible, challenging and rewarding. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use diverse assessment tools, and allow scope for various learning styles </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Boys seem to like to know what they are doing . . . . and why. <ul><ul><li>Many boys will tell you that they �don�t see the point of doing this.� </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explain why you are working on this text, topic, theme. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes, it is fine to be purely pragmatic. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Try starting a lesson with a statement of purpose, and concluding with a statement of achievement. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. It helps to divide lengthy, complex tasks into manageable, bite-sized chunks. <ul><ul><li>An extended, highly prepared response (especially written responses) can be quite intimidating for boys, especially weaker students. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing tasks in stages helps all students develop skills in organising tasks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boys often struggle to draft, edit and polish their work. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boys can enjoy a sense of achievement during the process of producing an extended work. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Build scaffolds to assist understanding . . . . and then work on removing them. <ul><ul><li>Try using metaphors to foster engagement with abstract concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rules governing types of texts much like game rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis as de-construction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Toolbox approach to literary devices </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dealing with symbols as code-breaking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jokes as narrative structure </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Select texts which are accessible, challenging and rewarding. <ul><ul><li>Boys are often attracted to adventure and danger - their experience of literature should not be dull . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outspoken students often identify significant ideas to engage with, but may not identify them positively. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look for opportunities for cross-KLA units of work/assessment. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Use diverse assessment tools, and allow scope for various learning styles <ul><ul><li>Focus on skills pertinent to the study of specific texts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authentic assessment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Real-world scenarios </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporation of traditional and IT skills </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Some Applications. . . .
    14. 14. Goodnight, Mr Tom Michelle Magorian <ul><ul><li>Suitable for younger, High-School aged boys (Years 7-8) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Romansbildung , WWII setting, atmospheric, free-moving narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Symbolism as code - consistent set of concrete references for abstract notions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EG: Mr Oakley = �Oak Tree�, also �Oak�s Lee� (shelter). Colour as measure of progress. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 16. Concluding Remarks <ul><ul><li>Humour is essential. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boys will push boundaries. That�s just what they do. Don�t take it personally. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Witnessing a boy�s appreciation of literature is a lifelong memory. Relish it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>

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