Problem boys: the mystery solved

29th November 2002 at 00:00
THROUGHOUT my 28 years in teaching I have become more and more amazed at the media coverage and apparent surprise at the increasing underachievement and disaffection of boys. Your article (TES, Friday magazine, November 5) has stirred me to ask: "Don't any of you remember being a boy?".

The most important factor in learning is surely motivation and I, like many "East End boys", learnt to become a good sportsman because I wanted to, not because I didn't want to be an academic. I only became a PE teacher because I liked sport.

When I was a tutor in the 70s, the girls in my school did less well than the boys because "they didn't want to" - most were too concerned with boys. By the time I became head of year in the 80s the girls had become emancipated and wanted to succeed so gradually tried harder. The boys did not like losing so stopped competing academically and directed their efforts to sporting or "anti-social" activities (as I did) and the trend continued.

Fortunately for us boys, the ladette culture has begun so possibly the girls will also become less motivated in the future. Where's the mystery, doesn't anybody listen to or empathise with these kids?

Keef Feeley

20 Marlborough Road

Brentwood, Essex

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