Why are boys stereotyped as the ‘Gender of Failure’?
Building on a trend that began more than a decade ago, girls are outperforming boys at every level in education. They get more and better GCSEs and A-levels, win more places at top universities and gain better degrees.
Boys' educational achievement began to lag behind girls from the late Eighties - around the time GCSEs replaced O-levels. There were warnings that the new qualification, with its emphasis on course work rather than final exams, would favour girls - and so it has proved.
Teenage girls tend to be more conscientious and dedicated to long-term projects, while boys are better at cramming and thrive in the adrenaline-fuelled arena of the exam.
Although poor attainment is concentrated in the lower income groups, the gender gap persists to the detriment of ...view middle of the document...
Male primary teachers can have a powerful impact on boys, the presence of a teacher their own gender can affect their behaviour & conduct in a positive way.
In a poll carried out last year for the Training and Development Agency for Schools, more than a third of boys said they felt that having a male primary teacher challenged them to work harder at school. Around half said they were more likely to have asked a male teacher for help over bullying or problems with school work.
However, recent sociologists such as Becky Francis (2006) believe the absence of male teachers isn’t a major factor in boy underachievement. Myhill and Jones (2006) even go on to research and prove 13-15yr olds feel male teachers treated boys more harshly.
This could be taken in a useful way in opposing opinions, the strict attitude can generate good discipline and increase focus levels from the boys.
Another reason why boys classed as the ‘gender of failure’ is because of the gradual feminisation of education. According to Whitmire, children are forced to use literacy skills much earlier than in the past, and boys develop these skills later than girls. When it comes to writing, the gender divide is even greater. Our hyper-focus on standardized test scores is worsening, the academic struggles of boys, and subsequently increasing the numbers of boys who turn off to school and eventually drop out. Schools don’t focus on ‘masculine’ traits like competiveness and leadership, but more on qualities more associated with girls; i.e. attentiveness in class and methodical working.
According to Gurian, boys learn by doing and by moving their bodies. The more emphasis is placed on the development of early reading skills, and the less emphasis is placed on a healthy amount of movement and experiential learning, the more disadvantageous schools will be for males, causing underachievement and them being labelled as a ‘gender of achievement’.