Schools Are Leaving Boys Behind

All 3 of my children are boys. This is my point of view as a mom of boys. Our schools are broken. In our effort to encourage girls in school, we have left behind the boys. In many education chats or articles I read it is to encourage girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). As an IT Auditor, I definitely see where women can be under represented in the Technology field. But, I never see any rah rah moment to encourage boys in Reading/Writing or language, areas of struggle for many boys.

20130911-222804.jpgBoys learn differently than girls. Many boys are very tactile. They need to touch, break and destroy things physically to learn how it works. Want to know why a man doesn’t read the manual? That is because most of them don’t learn by best reading directions. Verbal cues are only slightly better, but hands on, physical tearing apart or into something seems to be the best way for many to learn. Ever notice how boys can wrestle and beat each other up and stay or become the best of friends? Ever notice how when your son runs up to hug you, he slams his body into yours. The harder the slam, the more he missed you, at least that is what I tell myself before I brace for impact. Our early childhood education system is so geared toward girls it is frightening.  Boys need to move, to touch and their way of relating to one another isn’t ‘School Appropriate.’ I can’t tell you how many times I have had to tell my boys that their normal boy-style of play just isn’t something they can do at school.

How many early childhood education experts are men? How many preschool teachers are men? What is the ratio of men to women in an elementary environment? Men are under-represented in this type of environment. Lets face it, Men are from Mars and little boys are definitely like the moons circling that planet. They think differently, act differently and our boys need better than to be pigeonholed into a label that reads “ADHD” or “Disruptive”. They are boys. That is enough. Their boy-ness is part of them, and should be encouraged, not squashed. We should encourage ALL children. We need to encourage all children to explore what they might be most interested in. We should let them experience all of it: Writing, Reading, STEM etc. and not let them give up or only follow the easiest path.

Related Articles:

The Challenge of Boys in Our Early Childhood Programs

TED Talk: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning by Ali Carr-Chellman

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