Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gender Gap in Early Education

"The widest gaps between boys and girls were in writing but girls also perform better in using their imagination in art, design and storytelling.

Louise from Australia alerted her personal learning network today about an article published today in the Telegraph.

The results are from the study of 230,000 children who are all five years in age.

As the article states, "Policy makers need to be aware .... and have to think how best to intervene." It speaks to how we should find ways to enable boys to develop fluency. The article stops short on explaining how we address the need.
Here are some of my thoughts and ideas on the matter.

Boys writing initiatives need to be shaped for boys.

An initiative that seems to address writing and literacy, and makes no mention of boys writing research will not work. The article speaks about cutting class sizes and giving boys individual attention. I'm not sure that this is the way to go.

1. Boys need an environment which is fundamentally different with what we have been offering them
2. Teachers need to start with developing a relationship with boy students from a very early age.
3. Find out what makes them tick
4. what they are interested in and go from there for starters.
5. Have them "talk stories" from an early age.
6. Record their oral stories from a very early age and write them down.

The article says that boys have trouble holding a pencil - - well, duh, no kidding. Is that writing? I think not.

7. Get them on a keyboard as soon as possible.
8. Have them become storytellers from day one. [bit of a repeat of number 5 but listed here for emphasis]

I have a tweet in to the DCSF about the location of the study on their website. I couldn't find it. I'll be posting more once I read the entire article. If you read this and can find the study on the website, please let me know.

Oh, and why don't newspapers, which are on-line, have a hypertext link to the studies, anyhow? Perhaps they are worried that once folks see the link they will exit the article perhaps.

Until then, thanks for listening.

Photo Credit: PA

Friday, July 3, 2009

Boys Writing Flyers

These flyers are from the National Strategies and Standards website in the U.K. They speak directly to how boys learn and write. Here are the four flyers:

1. Talk for Writing
2. Visual Texts
3. Purpose and Audience
4. Feedback on Learning

I've been starting my boys writing workshops lately with reference to these four writing flyers. I find it starts the discussion about teaching boys differently. We need to address the needs of boys if they are to become successful.