Boys in academia – born to fail?

So, why is it that boys do so badly at school compared to girls? As a father of 2 boys and a girl I’m very interested in this and the potential future issues I may face.

Ali Carr-Chellman offers some hypothesis – some which I agree and some which I don’t really buy (but then again I was raised at a completely different time so my perceptions are affected by my education and the experiences I had):

  1. Zero tolerance – I agree with the essence of the argument but I’d say that it is a societal problem, not specifically affecting boys.  We’ve been pushed too far down a safe road to the point of stifling all creativity
  2. Lack of male role-models – totally agree with this.  A huge problem for education systems around the world – how to re-engage male teachers without fear of prejudice or recrimination. Getting more male teachers into classrooms would also help with different ways of thinking.  When I was taught there were some distinct differences between male and female teachers.  The men tended to teach you with more practical examples, whilst women were more studious and used books.  What that gave me was a balance between learning the theory and then look at ways to apply it in given situations.
  3. Too much too young – another huge problem.  We are creating huge amounts of stress where it is not needed.  I think basic spelling, writing and maths are critical but it really only becomes a problem when they are 7/8, not when they are 5!  Testing has also become more about simply passing a test and meeting targets rather than really understanding subjects, meaning the levels of comprehension are way off base.

You can watch Ali’s talk in full below – really interesting stuff


2 thoughts on “Boys in academia – born to fail?

Add yours

  1. I completely agree with “testing to meet targets.” With the whole SOL (Standards of Learning) I have heard many teachers talk against them. Mainly, because they are unable to focus on the student really learning the material, but learning (or should I say memorizing) to pass a test. I really do feel bad for some of these kids now days. I never had to deal with tests like this, but now kids HAVE to or else they do not pass and schools don’t receive funding. Thanks for shedding light on this issue.

    1. Hi Lakia,
      First of all thanks for reading :)!
      The whole thing seems non-sensical to me. I guess the problem could be that there is a proliferation in the amount they need to study so they skim over the basics.
      The problem with the current approach is we are creating robots rather than shaping and engaging minds, which then belittles the value of achievements.
      I don’t recall it being like this in my day so I’m not sure why they decided to change it.

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