Making the lads knuckle down;Leading Article;Opinion

26th March 1999 at 00:00
THE East Renfrewshire statistics showing in detail how boys trail girls in Standard grade exams were startling only in the extent of the gap revealed (TESS, last week). Without boys in class most schools across the country would have no problem meeting their national targets.

Motivating secondary-age boys is not a new problem. At one time most idlers were rescued by trade apprenticeship. Five years' training gave time to achieve maturity and probably a job for life. Today's modern apprenticeships have proved slow to take off, and like other forms of post-school training offer no guarantee of a place in the labour force.

Boys also find themselves in competition with girls whose better qualifications and more positive attitude commend them to employers.

Teachers use various strategies to motivate boys. They can warn that underachievement at school will affect life opportunities. They can tailor the curriculum to seize boys' attention. They can comfort themselves with thinking that if a boy is persuaded to read a football book he is at least reading something and might progress to more challenging material.

An East Renfrewshire presentation to the headteachers' conference last week said that boys had to be made to work harder. There is no easy way to raise their game in exams. But where they are targeted and "encouraged" to complete coursework and homework their performance improves. In other words it calls for positive discrimination against the laddish culture.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now