For the original Article/Video click this LINK with thanks to Joseph Driessen – NZ – Wanganui – Education Answers – http://www.educationanswers.com
Battling the gender gap
August 13, 2009 02:53pm
PARENTS should be asking schools if they are “boy friendly” when deciding on education, says expert Joseph Driessen.
Boys are continuing to fall far behind girls at school and university, Mr Driessen said.
The New Zealand educator, who has worked in girls, boys and co-educational schools, said parents could do a lot to improve their sons’ education.
Raising their expectations was important.
“Schools should not lower their expectations for boys, nor should parents, but often they do,” Mr Driessen said.
“Intelligence is not really the main determinant of achievement, it’s more about the expectations that are set up.”
Mr Driessen said many people were happy for girls to surpass boys, seeing it as the “girls’ turn”.
He said they may not realise the statistics, with only 40 per cent of boys in tertiary education, compared with 60 per cent of girls.
Boys without options, a growing group, were more likely to turn to alcohol and crime.
“Evidence worldwide shows that both boys and girls on average have better grades in single-sex schools. It’s a myth not supported by evidence that girls civilise boys. In fact, it’s the opposite.”
He said co-ed schools should keep track of boys’ and girls’ achievements.
“Parents should ask how boy-friendly the school is. Increasingly teachers have professional development on boys. There might be classes where there is more activity, and equal opportunity for school leadership.
He said homework could start very young, if it was brief and fun, even cutting and pasting, to set a routine.
Boys needed male role models interested in learning.
“Many boys are designed by nature to be energetic and risk-taking,” he said.
Mr Driessen said separation and divorce could be tougher on boys.
“Emotional turmoil interferes with cognitive ability, more so with boys. In about 80 per cent of break-ups boys don’t see their father often, so they have to go through a grief process. When a separation isn’t wise, you have a grade drop of up to 25 per cent.”
Parents could try being less emotional and more “bottom line and rational” when talking to boys.