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Published by patrickmadigan

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: patrickmadigan on Feb 12, 2011
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 Nadia Alaeddin 08009123 INEH009AK 2010/111
Theme 3. Gender and education: The issue of underachieving boys. Article 1: µAll-boys schools are not the answer¶ (Botton, 2010). Article 2: µBritain¶s divided schools: a disturbing portrait of inequality¶ (Asthana,2010). Article 1 explores the educational debate of the underachievement of boys,further questioning the offered solution of single sex schools as being anunsuccessful resolution and step back into past trends. Whereas Article 2,details the recent findings of the µHow fair is Britain¶ report in whereunderachieving boys in an educational context has become a great cause for concern.The focus of gender concern has switched from girls to boys over the lasttwenty years, previously the concern was the underperformance of girls(Lindsay and Muijis, 2006), however the debate of the underachievement of boys has been high profile since the 1990¶s and it is prevalent from nationaldata there is a legitimate concern (Younger et al, 2005). Research hadestablished a common explanation for this is the marked difference inattitudes to school and school work, in where boys are generally lessmotivated than girls (Van Houtte, 2004). Additionally, studies have shown thedifferences between the personal characteristics of boys and girls show thatboys are easily distracted and get bored easily and generally have lower levels of concentration than that of girls (Sailsbury et al cited in Machin andMc Nally, 2006).These kinds of representations can be related to the biological enquiry of themarked difference of development between boys and girls. Giedd et al (citedin Bryce and Blown 2007) reveal that diverse regions of the brain maturedifferently in childhood favouring earlier development of girls in regards toverbal fluency and handwriting. In contrast to that of boys who develop morerapidly in spatial and mechanical reasoning and visual targeting. Conellan etal (cited in Younger et al, 2005) reinforce this theory and suggest these
 Nadia Alaeddin 08009123 INEH009AK 2010/112
findings are apparent at an early age before children are influenced bysocially constructed norms of gender.Subsequently, this would coincide with the findings that girls outperform boysin literacy as is made clear in Article 1, boys are slipping behind girls in 11 outof 13 learning categories and by the age o five 53% had reached theexpected level in reading and writing in comparison with the 72% of girls.English is regarded as weak curriculum area for boys as they often regard itas girly and therefore undesirable (Gilbert and Gilbert, 2001).Subsequently, an additional rationale behind this has been the muchpublicised debate in the increase of a µfeminised education¶. Article 1 revealshow parents generally support this view and reports of the lack of maleteachers as being a factor in the crisis and underachievement of boys. Dee(2006 cited in Bryce and Blown, 2007) claims that having the same gender teacher influences educational outcomes, therefore if the majority of teachersare female this caters largely to that of female pupils. Consequently,Government officials have acknowledged the majority of female teachers as adetrimental factor to the underachievement of boys and have initiated greateffort to recruit more men into teaching, Millet and Morris (cited in Skelton,2002). The aim is to provide boys with male role models to enhance better behaviour in schools and this is of particular significance in present societywith increase of single parent families with the sole carer being that of themother. (Skelton, 2002).The link between discipline and behaviour has been reported as aninfluencing factor in the underachievement of boys, as has been previouslystated boys are less motivated at school and display pessimistic attitudes inregards to schoolwork, this disaffection with schooling is often due to a µmaleculture¶ phenomenon in which boys identify with a set of µmacho values¶ thatreject the values of education (Jones and Myhill, 2004). Therefore, due to theneed to conform to peer pressure, be part of the crowd, and live up toexpectations in turn leads to a range of non conformist behaviour whichprevents them from achieving (Burns and Bracey, 2001). Younger et al, 2005)
 Nadia Alaeddin 08009123 INEH009AK 2010/113
propose this style of behaviour is linked to an avoidance of the stigmaattached to feminine characteristics and homosexuality.However, it is imperative to recognise not all boys will take such a view,generally this group of boys will feel insecure about challenging expectationsof their peer group leading to isolation, vulnerability and ridicule. Thus will takethe safe option of conforming (Burns and Bracey, 2001). Therefore, it is of great importance to both boys and girls to be µpopular¶ within social peer groupings. As has been discovered achievement is not considered µcool¶ byboys. In contrast, girls feel it is viable to work hard in school, provided theylook µcool¶ outside of school time (Van Houtte, 2004).This aligns itself with the research supporting boys disruptive behaviour inschool. Discipline problems are perceived to be caused by boys and this ismeasured by exclusion rates (Younger et al, 2005). Research indicates thatboys account for 80% of permanent exclusions (DFES, 2007). However manycite the reason for more male exclusions is that boys tend to use physicalmeans in disputes whereas girls prefer to administer a form of psychologicalaggravation (DFES, 2007). Additionally, teachers¶ perceptions, (clearly shownto be of a female majority) have implications in the view of boys misbehaviour.What is often described as typical boy behaviour has also become theepitome of boys underachieving behaviour (Jones and Myhill, 2004). An offered solution? Article 2 reports how parents are opting to send their children to single sexschools as this is perceived to be the answer to gender inequality. However within the article it also makes a valid point is made when it suggests that thisdoes not take into account the shy boy or the energetic girl who prefers activelearning.Sukhanandan et al (cited in Younger et al, 2005), reported positive findings for single sex schools as it provides an opportunity to use strategies andresources that target boys interests and needs. In addition to it being an allmale environment where boys feel less embarrassment, enabling them to bemore open and responsive.

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