Exploring new ways of teaching boys

Principal at Selah Primary, Maxine Husbands speaking to  Barbados TODAY
Principal at Selah Primary, Maxine Husbands speaking to Barbados TODAY

In its move to help boys with their own concentration on education, Selah Primary already has a few guidelines which teachers there will be examining.

Principal Maxine Husbands yesterday shared a small portion of the documentation which the school will be looking to as they launch a concerted effort this semester aimed at determining how to keep boys interested in education.

The research suggested that a study from Drs. Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley had provided insights into new ways of teaching boys.

“They conducted a study called Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices. They have identified eight types of lessons which create a boy-friendly environment,” said the documentation.

Among the suggestions were: “Lessons that result in an end product like a poem or a booklet; lessons that are structured as competitive games; lessons requiring motor activity, [and], lessons requiring boys to assume responsibility for the learning of others.”

Husbands noted in an interview that it was not absolutely necessary to separate boys and girls in the classrooms or even have separate schools for the sexes, but rather the school’s approach was to find areas or ways to better cater to the boys, while figuring out what makes them “tick”.

She had suggested that sometimes it took boys longer to settle into their studies than it did the girls and while the girls would not be left out in the approach the school was taking, she believed studying the boys and finding ways to help them would in turn aid the girls.

Other suggestions put forward will be lessons that required boys to address unsolved problems, that required a combination of competition and teamwork, that focussed on independent personal discovery and that introduced drama in a form of novelty or surprise.

While the St. Lucy school had decided to begin their new drive from this term, Husbands said that she believed it would be a long-term approach which, once they got a good handle and started to see results, could be shared with other schools.

The idea came from her time teaching at Milton Lynch Primary, the all-boys schools, where she spent her final year there as Acting Principal and where a teacher had conducted a study on the topic as part of her teacher education certification. That and the success at St. Leonard’s Boys’, said Husbands, had convinced her that approaches catering for boys could reap rewards, once resources were put behind them. (LB)

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