Updated: Sep 30
Photo by Gabriel Tovar
It is true that many boys pick up less social cues than their female counterparts. That girls make more serotonin and oxytocin, so they are calmer and more interested in emotional connection. Boys mature more slowly than girls and girls have more of their cerebral cortex defined for verbal function. The hippocampus, where memory and language live, does develop more rapidly and is larger in girls than in boys. This impacts vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Boys, on the other hand, have more of their cerebral cortex defined for spatial relationships. As a result, they learn easily through movement and visual experience. Also, because girls have more serotonin and oxytocin, they can sit for longer periods of time, easier than boys who may need movement to feel comfortable.
Dr. Gail Gross, Contributor; Huffpost July 16, 2014
In a study of boys’ achievement at secondary school, Ofsted pinpointed a few factors: “Boys tend to respond well to teachers who set clear limits and high expectations, direct work strongly, show enthusiasm for their subjects, use humour and reward good work. There is evidence that boys are rather less inclined than girls to learn from indifferent teaching.”
“Boys in particular seem to value individual attention and tend to work harder when they know they are being monitored closely. They respond well when given help to organise their coursework and to plan their revision.”
American educational researchers William Draves and Julie Coates also blame traditional school structure for holding boys back. In their book, Nine-Shift: Work, Life and Education in the 21st Century, they argue that boys are leading society in this, the age of the Internet. According to them, it is not boys who are the problem, but schools. While boys are developing the skills they will need in the “knowledge jobs” of the future, schools are still preparing students for an industrial age that is passing. Draves and Coates believe schools in the U.S. had to go through a similar adjustment between 1900 and 1920, as the education system adapted to produce in students the skills needed for industrial and ofﬁce work instead of jobs in the rural economy. During this period, boys dropped out of school in huge numbers. Yet it was often those same young men, experimenting with technology, who led America’s manufacturing boom.
Draves and Coates claim something similar is happening today with computers: boys of almost any age are far more interested in the Internet, video games and technology than girls. They “like taking risks, being entrepreneurial, being collaborative – all the behaviours that lead to success in the workforce today.” But while they are rewarded for their behaviour in the workplace, they are punished in school for being non-conformist, poor listeners, and restless.
Why Boys Aren't Learning by Susan Murray
I have wanted to write this for a long time. I have wanted to answer the question of why the boys in my classes and schools not only learn, but excel. I am not bragging. Nothing to brag about God's blessings. So, here are the reasons boys excel in learning at Maricopa Christian Academy.
I and the teachers that work with me set clear limits. Not only boys benefit from an environment with clear and consistent expectations, we all do. Whether the workplace, home or church, clear, fair boundaries allow the freedom to move within the fence of expectations. And within those clear and fair expectations the benefit for boys is the opportunity to learn how to test the strength of the fence surrounding them.
“Every day, I'm trying to push the boundaries creatively, and sometimes it does push the boundary too far, and that's what I had to learn."
Clear boundaries and expectations are encouraged and practiced. Things like showing respect to their fellow students, teachers and visiting adults. Or how to win and lose gracefully at sports and games. What hard work looks like in a building as well as outside of one. And if they are followers of Christ, finding joy in prayer and praise to their creator.
This may not sound big, but we have PE every day. PE is designed at Maricopa Christian Academy to provide exercise daily. We run and work on simple core and upper body strengthening. Sports skills are developed. Not only do we play volleyball, soccer, kickball, badminton and frisbee golf, our students work on basic skills in order to be good and confident playing these sports, hopefully as a part of a lifelong practice of exercise.
Reading is encouraged through exciting, time tested fiction and nonfiction. No horrendously boring readers that are pushed by publishers and school boards on public and private schools for over sixty years with excerpts included from second rate writers. No, we provide books written by esteemed historians, fiction written by men and women with biblical world views in mind. You know, good versus bad, heroes defending the weak, or people who put others interest first before theirs.
The Bible is read, memorized and discussed daily through reading the Bible as a group chapter by chapter, verses memorized and teacher provided short reviews. A biblical world view gives our boys a foundation to build their lives on.
Our course work is organized through individual check sheets provided to each student with their daily goals expected in each class. This way the student knows what the teacher is expecting and allows each student to achieve mastery at a greater pace. This individual instruction of course provides the individual attention boys thrive in.
With all of this individual attention and instruction, the boys get in and out of their seats a lot. The movement and consistent teacher/student interaction provide additional learning support for our boys.
Movement, constant accountability and clear daily goals are all very important But so is the daily prayer our staff provides in support of our students.
Boys excel at Maricopa Christian Academy. We have that to praise our Savior for.