Saturday, May 19, 2012

Taking Care of the Boys

There has been much discussion recently on the interspace/cybernet about the need to do something about the education of young and not so young boys. Much of that discussion has centred around the how tos as the overwhelming majority agree about the why fors.

Now I'm all for getting the education of young boys back on track and there are enough facts and figures to highlight the dilemma facing boys to fill 100 blog posts. However, I don't want to get into the semantics of what the problem is or even what the possible causes might be. Solutions are the important ingredient here.

An interesting recent article by Niki Buchan talked about this very issue. She raises some interesting points, just as many others do. What I want to get across though is that when we focus on boys, or girls exclusively to the other gender we are doing a disservice to all children. A prolonged focus on boys could lead to girls' results beginning to fair worse. In short, if we put too much energy into one group, the other is bound to suffer.

Having said that, let's get back on track to what people want us to do about boys. Find things that interest them. Shouldn't that work for all children? Get them outside so they can let off some of that energy? Again, shouldn't all children be spending more time outside? Get more men into the profession who can handle the boys. Now while more in working with young children is an absolute goal for me and all who care about young children, getting them just to look after the troublesome children, who just happen to be mostly boys according to many, is just plain ridiculous. Why do people think that men would be automatically better at dealing with so called difficult young boys appropriately than women?

I could go on and on, but I'll spare you that. The point is that boys do need our attention, but if we give it to them, we need to be very careful we don't do it to the detriment of the girls. I want to do my best for all children. Sometimes that will mean giving special attention to certain boys, just as there will be times when I attend more to particular girls. Hopefully, in the whole scheme of things I provide a balance that enables all children to get the best out of themselves. I also hope that others aspire to something similar.

I don't mean to diminish the plight many boys find themselves in or the wonderful work so many, such as Niki Buchan are doing to change the imbalance. I simply caution that sometimes we look for broad reaching, simplified solutions to very complex problems and that rarely bodes well.

So get out there, help those boys, don't forget about the girls and advocate for more men, but for all the right reasons. What are those right reasons? They are probably different for everyone so only you can answer that question.


  1. it is so wonderful to see balance. Totally, 100% and thoroughly agree with this post. We need to teach CHILDREN and meet CHILDREN's needs. I want to see more men in schools (in my preschool - grade 7 school the only man on staff is the janitor); the right men and for the right reasons. We have some wonderful stay at home dads and grandpas who are wonderful presences in the school - for both the girls and the boys. Bless them - and all other men who are investing their time and effort in children

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    1. Thanks Sandi. Niki's article was wonderful, but I often read about how we need to attend to boys' needs & us men are part of the solution in mnay cases. I would rather the numbers of men remain at 2% or lower than to have the numbers skyrocket with dozens of men entering the workforce not suited to the profession.

      By the way, I posted your Pay it Forward package the other day. Hope it arrives safely.

  2. Some great discussion points raised raised here, Greg. I agree 100% with you, we need to be very careful we don't see men in education as mere disciplinarians. keep these thought provoking posts coming, Kierna

    1. I know Kierna. Too many times the so called 'difficult' children (usually boys) are sent to me to 'deal' with.

  3. Greg, I totally agree. First, I agree that we need to address some of the needs of boys; I think many teachers flag some behavior as "bad" that may be just a result of who a child is (boy or girl).

    But I think that we need to pay attention to all children - what are the needs; what is a particular behavior telling us; are we thinking about the whole child (body and mind). Each child--boy or girl, active or quiet--deserves our attention and our advocation.

    1. Exactly Scott. I think it's become easier to sideline boys as a whole rather than look at individual children. Having said that, I don't want to diminish the fabulous work so many do with boys.