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Raising Boys Attainment.


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I'm going to be joining the working party on "raising boys attainment" in my authority. I may or may not be the only person representing the early years. It is apparent from looking at borough wide profile results that the boys are doing less well than the girls and this continues through to KS1 etc.

 

so, my request is: What issues do you face in relation to boys attainment, particularly CLL ?

 

How do you plan provision to engage boys in a range of experiences they may not seem inclined to join in with e.g. using writing to communicate.

 

What have you tried that has raised their interest/skills/knowledge/understanding and why did it work?

 

Are there issues faced by the private/voluntary sector that aren't in the maintained and vice versa?

 

Do you have access to any interesting documents/research papers etc etc I could use?

 

I'l be really grateful and I'm sure there is a wealth of experience out there!!!!!

Thanks and Happy Christmas to everyone

Cxxx :D

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hi Catma

this was soemthing i was interested in as well- my topic for my CPD course, I'm looking into writing opportunities for boys.

What made a difference in my nursery was to have a whole display board set aside for the 3d display of children's construction. I used covered shoe boxes as stands ofr the display and children had lables t write their names and boards to 'do' thei writings/drawings/plans. They could then display this on the board. It was intersting to observe how many boys who were earlier indiffernt to writring or even holding apencil were prepared to add to the board at regular intervals.(independently)

 

We also had a message broad that chidlren could use to write messages to each other. Thsi was also used by the boys- to write to ohter boys :o

 

Is that soemthing that you could use?

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thanks Leo, all tips/ideas etc are useful. I have a few interested colleagues who would be happy to test out some so we could build a bank of good practice as a possible outcome.

 

Mimi you'll have to ask Leo!!!

 

Cx

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Many boys have to have a purpose to write. They are not interested in the writing table as a purposeful activity. In my experience they will mark make or write in roleplay/small play areas. They like using clipboards and large writing tools.Boys seem to prefer to write"on the move". Maybe they find the writing table too restrictive. Is it just the case that their brains develop at different rates and do they catch up later anyway?

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I'll be interested to hear what ideas come out of your working party but I don't think I can add much to what's already been said.

 

We had an 18 year old lad came in as a helper in our setting this term (sadly he's left now - on a gap year so going travelling), which really helped encourage the boys to join in. I think more male role models are needed, but they are hard to come by.

Carolyn

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What a great display board Leo! Thanks for the photo. I read about something similar recently (may have been Foundations of Literacy) where there were plastic bottle halves attched to the wall with names on and if you wanted to leave a message for someone you posted it in their pot. Might be tricky in very large classes though - space would be required. Yours looks very manageable though.

 

Keep those comments coming everyone!!! I'll feedback anything that comes from elsewhere:D

 

Cx

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Love that Leo!

We use clipboards a lot too - especially outside. We always have a copy of Auto Trader etc. with the cars - boys love to cut out the pictures, label them etc. I save my own boys' comics too. We put a box of books and writing equipment in each area in a box with handles - as Bubble' said boys like to work 'on the move'.

Having said that, the introduction of JP this year has meant that we don't have the gap anyway!

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Most of what I might have said has already been contributed, but I would agree that boys seem to need to be motivated, our boys love writing 'service quotes', MOT certificates and GASP speeding tickets :o

 

As for encouraging reading, try things like 'Whatever Next' (- or any Jill Murphy, come to that!), or the Little Bear books - again (can anyone tell me why I have such a problem with this author?????) the author's name escapes me!!! My own favourite is 'Little Bear's Trousers' - those toys are so inventive! xD

 

Sue :D

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what about having a girls only bike session followed by boys only session.

i feel that our response to boys' play can be negative-don't you think -the way we apprciate the things that girls do-ie plyaing wiht dolls, writing, reading, colouring in playing mums and dads etc but the one thing that boys love- playing with guns in any form is not encouraged/actvely banned and yet it oculd be actually discimatory to enable girls to channel theri instrincts but discourage boys from doing soemthing that seems instrinsic to them. girls are enocaged to try 'boys' play but boys who like to dress up in costumes are (sometimes)ridiculed or considered odd- sometimes by the most caring and loving practitioners in our settings.

this is not a critisim but something i have a bug bear about. boys need opportunties to explore theri natual aggression.

 

what does the forum think?

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I totally agree with you, there Leo. Thats why boys need a good male role model but unfortunately they are few and far between in early years settings. They need a place to run and let and let of steam and play fight and all the time we inhibit that in them. As well as a lack of males we have a lack of suitable resources to allow that to go on in a safe and supervised environment.

There are girls too who need these sort of experiences and boys who need to be able to play house and dress up etc, but so very often it is the girls who dominate that play. I know my own sons were reluctant to participate in these areas when in nursery because they felt it was for the girls and the nursery they attended was excellent and not discriminatory in its provision. Its role play provision was particularly enhanced and I am sure the staff would have been horrified had I fed that back to them.

 

Perhaps this is where single sex education can be an advantage? Can boys develop their more " female" characteristics in these environments or do they become even more channelled into the traditional male role?

 

I had a close male friend in my teenage years who felt himself very inadequate because he enjoyed cooking and gardening, things that his father perceived to be his mothers role. He was also interested in the arts and humanities, but studied sciences at A level and at university-I am sure he felt this was what he should do and gave him status with his father. He never used that science degree and went on to explore other things, changing careers many times!

 

Perhaps the notions of society need to be challenged before we can truely enhance boys (and girls) performance?

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Yes Leo I entirely agree with you.

Also I don't understand why the sole responsibility falls on schools to provide an equal gender based childhood.. As in many things more should be done to promote this at home. As in many things parents do not always know these things.

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  • 3 weeks later...

But is it all to do with gender stereotyping? I'm sure none of us make provision with just girls or boys in mind but the same types of gender splits occur over and over, even with the families I've known who were very atypical in their perception of traditional roles. How then if this is the case do we encourage boys to join in things perceived as not for boys??

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I think I have said before how surprised I am to hear very young children say such things as "pink is a girls colour" or "boys don't do ballet/dancing"

 

We are very fortunate to have a male member of staff and it is interesting to see how the boys almost hero worship him - they noticed what he had in his lunchbox and asked their parents to provide the same. This gave us food for thought (no pun intended! :D )and we now, thanks to the role model provided by our male member of staff, have boys who will be 'ballet dancers' and I have seen a big change in the boys behaviour, views and language. I have heard one little chap say "Well not ALL fairies have to be girls"

 

Lots has been said about positive adult role models and I have certainly found that the boys take on board what our male staff member does - if he dresses the dolls in the home corner, pushes the dolls in the buggy, dances, plays with the dolls house then they join in. (INterestingly, I can participate and be surrounded instantly by lots of girls but the boys are not impressed!! )This has now progressed to them doing this on their own inititiative - it's almost as though having seen an adult male participating has given them the message that its OK for them to do it.

 

I just don't know where are the negative messages came from in the first place!!

 

I also talk about "my big boys" when a situation arises - like the 'boys dont wear pink" they were surprised to learn that one of my sons has a pink shirt!!

 

We don't have the same problem with the girls though! they happily play with all resources regardless of whether it is seen as primarily 'boys or girls' toys.

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Did you see 'Child of our time' last week? Prof. Winston looked at this and found that even by putting Action Man into a dress changed childrens idea of whether the doll was a boy or girl. They all knew that pink was girls and blue was boys and to have the wrong colour for their gender meant they had changed too. He's on again tomorrow at 9pm BBC1. :D

I wish there were more men in childcare settings, I even gave the idea to my 14 yr old as a career choice, but was given a 'look' :o:(xD , my hopes now lie with the youngest one. :D

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I agree my husband was adored by the children when he used to come in and help at school with swimming and any trips I managed to coax him into helping.

At nursery all the children know who Gary is (my husband) and when we are out in town I'm astonished how many children (present and past nursery children) say 'Look there's Gary' as though he is some pop star!

The men that I have known in Early Years have all moved onto becoming Heads. Not one has stayed in the classroom which is a shame.

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Geraldine you are really lucky to have a male member of staff. I wonder what the future holds for him. Unfortunately male teachers have to look for promotion because of financial reasons. Male staff make an impression on boys and girls. My daughter still remembers her male teacher.

How many fathers these days have the inclination or make the time to play "house" with their offspring. Fathers often can only relate to their children with physical play.

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I just noticed today that 5 out of my 6 top readers this year are boys - a first for me! That said, they were doing some sequencing and 'have a go' writing today and it was noticeable that the organisation and fine motor control required for the activity were quite beyond 2 of these boys, and a number of less 'able' girl readers completed this task to a much better standard!

 

I think those type of skills do not develop so quickly in boys who are allowed to have lots of large physical development, whereas the girls in my class do tend to sit & draw/paint/cut & stick etc far more.

 

I read something interesting about gender stereotyping, I think in last months EYE too, it said that children have no idea that gender is based upon reproductive organs, and therefore deduce that it must be based on their bahaviour/appearance. Hence they behave in a 'boyish' or 'girlish' way in oder to maintain their gender/sense of self & security. I thought that was very insightful, sorry if it seems rather obvious!!!

 

Dianne

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