Ask a teacher

3rd August 2007 at 01:00
A The solution to this one is easy: discourage, distract and de-motivate girl pupils. The figures will equalise, a suit in Whitehall can tick a box and everyone will be happy!

Graham, Crowborough

A When I started teaching, the gender imbalance was the other way round and we were all tearing our hair out at how to raise the achievement levels of under performing girls.

That is not to say that complacency is justified or that there will be an inevitable swing back towards the boys. The causes are deep-rooted, and it is probable that educational strategies alone are not the answer.

But while society sorts itself out, we can all do our bit by simply not subscribing to the "low expectations syndrome" in respect of the lads.

Kevin, Cheltenham

A The first step is acknowledging this is a problem. The second is doing something about it. This is a classic case of "catching them young" if we leave it too long, it's too late.

So, build strategies around getting boys to learn effectively and to be really engaged by the process. Use their interests maybe the release of a new film targeted at younger children. Make the most of the inevitable merchandising to turn it into an opportunity to learn. Ask the parents (particularly dads) to spend time with them, reading and developing their literacy skills. Linda, Worthing

A In my experience, the secret in closing the gender gap is to build up positive, trusting, teacher-pupil relationships and cater for boys' learning styles through a relevant and stimulating curriculum. Many boys respond well to teachers who make a positive effort to get to know about their interests and how they learn.

Boys tend to be predominantly kinesthetic or visual learners, so need lots of practical activity and visual stimulation in every lesson. They respond well to problem solving activities, thinking skills and challenges. Completing meaningless tasks and sitting listening for long periods of time have a negative effect on many boys, and result in lack of academic success John, Cumbria

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