Years ago, when I first began teaching at Fenn, I happened across a tremendous resource developed by the International Boys’ School Coalition (IBSC) titled "Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices". The authors of the study, Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley, spent years researching the many ways teachers of boys crafted and delivered lessons, and they also spent years interviewing boys about what parts of that teaching resonated with them. Reichert and Hawley then endeavored to identify patterns within the research that would indicate specific skills or methodologies critical to teaching boys. What they concluded where the following:
- By far, the most critical determinant of success for a boy in a teaching environment was the positive relationship that his teacher and he developed.
Beyond this primary factor for success were skills and methodologies that connected well with boys:
- Boys thrive in an active learning environment.
- Boys love to move.
- Boys long to create and make things.
- Boys like to question.
- Boys are motivated by competition and games.
- Boys appreciate new and different approaches to teaching and learning.
- Boys learn best when the teaching is connected to practical, genuine, real-life experiences and tasks.
- Boys love to work with technology.
- Boys generally thrive when working with one another on group oriented projects.
These key understandings about what works for boys were integral in my early development as a teacher of boys, and while every lesson taught at Fenn does not include all of these markers, every time I observe a colleague's lesson, a few of these are characteristics are always present. In my next post I hope to provide an example or two of how these key methodologies are integrated into classroom teaching at our school.
To read more about the study mentioned above, please visit the Jossey Bass Education site.
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