Boys will be boys

26th May 2000 at 01:00
Primary teachers may be over-reacting to boys' playground fights because they find it hard to distinguish between play and more serious tussles.

A study of 44 Sheffield boys aged six to eight found that only 1 per cent of "play" fights turned serious. But teachers estimated that around 30 per cent of serious fights grew out of playing. Play fights are governed by rules of engagement and turned nasty only when someone was unintentionally hurt or if troublemaker provoked the other child.

Professor Peter K Smith of Goldsmiths College's department of psychology, one of the researchers, said teachers may overestimate the problem because they are focusing on the troublemakers. In a paper for the Association for the Study of Play conference in Baltimore, Maryland, Professor Smith and his fellow researchers said teachers viewed rough and tumble play less positively than the children did.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today