Sometimes it can be more challenging engaging boys in learning than girls. There are a number of reasons for this which I won’t cover here but these are a few suggestions of ways to make learning more engaging for boys. They benefit girls as well.
- Writing is a major area of deficiency for many boys so it is important that boys communicate before writing something. Create opportunities for boys to talk to each other about a topic and make notes as they talk so that when they write they have something so say. When boys talk through things before writing, their writing fluency and the amount they write increase dramatically.
- Boys need templates or graphic organisers for writing, not just so they can organise their thoughts but these give them an idea of how much is required. Boys find open ended tasks more daunting and need to be eased into them.
- Break down classroom activities into shorter, more intensive periods of time on task. Boys respond well to, ‘You have three minutes to write down five points about …’.
- Always start lessons with something that captures a boy’s interest. (See Hooking Students into Learning … in all curriculum areasfor ways to do this.)
- Boys like quizzes. A test is teacher v. student whereas a quiz is student v. student. This is more competitive, especially if there is a prize or reward involved.
- Always state the purpose and relevance of the learning.
- Always give boys thinking time and time to talk to the person next to them about an answer to a question before they share with the class. Review thehands up approach to teaching.
- Many boys need assistance with their reading skills so devote more class time to reading. For reluctant readers, frequently used short passages are better than long stretches of written text.