Shadow Study TalkMy shadow study topic was to research whether same sex classes might help to improve the performance of underachieving boys.
Boys, on average, when starting at secondary school areÃ¯Â¿Â½ months behind the average girl in speaking and listening skillsÃ¯Â¿Â½ months behind in literacyÃ¯Â¿Â½months behind in numeracyGirls in England and Wales repeatedly achieve, on average, 10% higher grades at their GCSEs in all subjects, even the more traditionally Ã¦ÂÂaleÃ¯Â¿Â½ subjects like physics and chemistry.
Reasons:Ã¦ÂÂhysical: Boys mature slower than girls and so girls are more mature in their approaches to learning and in their ability to learnÃ¦ÂÂearning Styles: Research has shown that boys respond better to more traditional teaching methods (memorising facts and rules that have to be acquired quickly). Girls are usually more visual learners and are better at open Ã¯Â¿Â½ ended tasks which require pupils to think for themselves.
Ã¦ÂÂµurriculum: Boys are better at end of year exams whereas girls favour coursework and modular exams.
It is argued by some that the current curriculum favours girls more.
Ã¦ÂÂack of male role models: 83% of Primary teachers are female and many subjects at secondary are still dominated by women. Boys often see school as a female dominated place. This encourages the attitude that itÃ¦ÂÂ¯ cool to fail in school, especially in academic subjects where pupils are labeled geeks if they shine, although itÃ¦ÂÂ¯ OK to be good at P.E.
ThereÃ¦ÂÂ¯ lotÃ¦ÂÂ¯ of debate about how to raise the performance of underachieving boys. The English Department in the school I was at, Balerno High School, had started a pilot scheme this year where some S3 and S5 classes were split by gender to try and raise boys achievement as boys always perform significantly worse than girls at English. Similarly the P.E. department had been running for a few years...