Boys vs. Girls

My principal likes to have "reflection" meetings with us after we taken any district exams.  We use this time to review the areas in which we did well and not so well.  We try to figure out the "why" behind both in hopes of increasing the areas in which we do well.

Today, I had one with her.  I don't typically learn anything new, per se, in these meetings.  I usually notice things, analyze etc.  But today I learned that there is a possibility that my teaching is reaching the girls in my class more than the boys.  The girls out performed the boys significantly, which is funny considering I have FAR MORE boys than girls.

I don't know that my teaching is impacting this directly.  I do know that girls typically are more mature at younger ages, so that may play a part.  My girls overall are very driven.  They seem to care more about their work than the boys overall.  I'm sure all of this is making an impact.  There are many other outside things that may be contributing to this, things I cannot control.

But...what if my teaching IS impacting this?  Well, I can control that.  I can change my methods and try to reach the boys more.  I do know that as a woman, I gravitate toward the girls for many reasons. I don't have a girl of my own, so I do love those girls like crazy.  Another part is just from my middle school background.  It wasn't safe to pour into the boys like I would the girls.  It was frowned upon and that last thing you want as a female teacher of middle school students is people talking about how close you are to the boys.  It doesn't look good.

Elementary is different.  It's just now getting to where I'll even hug my male students in the morning (it's a bit of a norm at my school to hug each student as they walk into your room in the morning).  I have to say I was COMPLETELY uncomfortable doing so, and I didn't do it at all until recently.  It's still a side hug, but it's better than nothing. :-)

So now I'm trying to figure out how to try to reach these boys.  I know they are much more literal of thinkers.  I know their attention spans are typically much shorter.  I know they need more movement etc than girls typically.  I'm trying to figure out exactly what I can do to make sure I'm doing MY best to reach EACH child.  I never in my life would have thought about the fact that I could possible be reaching one gender more than the other has my principal not pulled up the data.  I'm always looking to improve as a teacher, so I'm glad we looked at this!

Any suggestions or comments about what works for you are greatly appreciated!

Comments

  1. I love this part: "But...what if my teaching IS impacting this? Well, I can control that." Indeed you can! Great thinking here. One thing that works to engage boys in my classroom is short segments and movement. We might do one activity for 10-12 minutes then switch and sometimes that switch involves getting up and walking to another area of the classroom (centers or carousel brainstorming or discussions in another area). My boys like to move.

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  2. You may want to read MISREADING MASCULINITY by Tom Newkirk. There are a few other titles (new this year) about reaching boys who struggle. It's an important topic and one that we all need to consider.

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  3. You may want to read MISREADING MASCULINITY by Tom Newkirk. There are a few other titles (new this year) about reaching boys who struggle. It's an important topic and one that we all need to consider.

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  4. So much of this post is real and painful Boys are different than girls. We know that even if we don't want to admit it. They need more action, more interaction and MORE hugs! That is just the way it is.

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  5. Thank you for the comments everyone. Anita, I'm realizing this so much just raising my own two boys. I often look at my friends who have girls and wish I had it as "easy". Then they tell me of the drama and emotions and I quickly recant. :-)

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  6. I reaaly like Lee Ann's comment about short segments and movement. Young boys have a much worse attention span than girls, statistically speaking, and they tend to have much more trouble sitting still. Keep reflecting each lesson on what worked well, what could be improved on, and what needs to be scrapped!

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