Ali Carr-Chellman: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning | Summary and Q&A

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Ali Carr-Chellman: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning


Boys' culture is not working well in schools as seen by higher suspension rates, lower academic achievement, and lack of engagement, and steps need to be taken to address this issue.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why are boys more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than girls?

One reason for the higher suspension and expulsion rates among boys is that their culture and behavior tend to clash with the expectations and rules set by schools. This can lead to disciplinary actions when boys engage in activities like roughhousing or playing with toy weapons, which are often seen as disruptive or potentially harmful. While it is important to maintain a safe and structured learning environment, zero tolerance policies may disproportionately penalize boys and overlook the need for alternatives to address their energy and interests in a more constructive way.

Q: How does the lack of male teachers affect boys' education?

The decreasing number of male teachers in elementary schools has created a gender imbalance in the classroom. When boys are surrounded predominantly by female role models, they may perceive school as a space primarily designed for girls, leading to disengagement and even the development of negative stereotypes about learning. Male teachers can provide important role models for boys, showing them that being smart and excelling in academics is not solely a female trait. Their absence contributes significantly to the problem of boys feeling disconnected from the education system.

Q: How does the compressed curriculum in schools affect boys?

The current trend of expecting young children to meet certain academic milestones at increasingly earlier ages can be detrimental to active and energetic boys. Boys often exhibit different learning styles and develop at a different pace compared to girls. Pressuring them to meet unrealistic academic expectations may lead to disengagement from learning. It is crucial to adapt teaching methods and curriculum approaches to accommodate the diverse needs of boys, rather than promoting a one-size-fits-all approach.

Q: What can be done to address the challenges boys face in education?

To overcome the educational challenges faced by boys, several steps can be taken. Firstly, there needs to be a reevaluation of zero tolerance policies to ensure they are fair and avoid penalizing boys unnecessarily. Second, efforts should focus on creating a more inclusive curriculum that acknowledges and embraces the interests of boys, such as incorporating video games and hands-on activities into the learning process. Increasing the number of male teachers and providing more male role models can also play a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging for boys in the education system. Overall, a shift in mindset and acceptance of boys' culture is needed to engage boys and improve their educational experiences.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Boys have a different culture within schools, leading to lower academic achievement and disciplinary issues.

  • Zero tolerance policies and limitations on writing topics contribute to boys feeling disconnected from school.

  • The lack of male teachers and a compressed curriculum further compound the problem.

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