Boys in Education


Introduction by Liz Webb:

One of the areas of concern for the teachers in the Project WRITE MDE Grant is that we want to provide excellent educational opportunities for all adolescents. Since the test data in the mid-Michigan area indicates that boy writers are struggling, we want to learn as much as we possibly can about boys and their educational achievements.

The Gurian Institute has a wealth of information for us to peruse, so please go to the Project WRITE Resource Page, click on the Gurian Institute, and examine this. When you find something to which you want to respond, please come back to this page and post your response in the Discussion section on this page (above).

Once you have read some of the statistics, go to the Issues page on the Gurian Institute site and consider the questions there. How do you respond to the questions posted there?


Who IS Our Audience? by Jennifer Casper, Gwen Gulley, Dee Halstead, Deb Lamb-Babcock

We are GIRLS; we teach from a GIRL perspective; our curriculum is written by GIRLS; and we teach BOYS.

But, who IS our audience? Girls AND boys.

We've left out 49% of our audience. BOYS.
We curtail their language.
We eliminate the subjects that they like to explore.
We stifle the way that they communicate.
We grade from a girl perspective: we expect more from girls and less from boys; we squirm at their language, subjects, brevity.
We LABEL them differently than girls: Boys ARE A.D.D; girls HAVE A.D.D.

So, WHAT does our audience need? CHOICES.
Choices to draw instead of write-to-think.
Choices to select topics they identify with.
Choices to include subjects and language that THEY NATURALLY use.

An example of choices in writing for BOTH boys and girls of all ethnicities:

If you had a unit on heroes, leave the prompt open-ended instead of narrow, and give several different visuals. THEN, let the students draw their thinking (boys), write a story about their thinking, or respond personally from the heart.

Prompt: Click on the prompts below and watch them. Select only one in order to respond to the question.
What does this prompt say to you about heroes?** Either...Draw a series of pictures to explain what you want to say, write a story that illustrates how you see a hero, or write about a hero.

Beers, Kylene, Robert E. Probst, Linda Rief, Ed. Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice.

Fletcher, Ralph. Boy Writers Reclaiming Their Voices

Kingdom of Hearts from a girl's perspective

Kingdom of Hearts from a boy's perspective