What teachers can do

30th January 1998 at 00:00
* Steer boys away from playing entirely with construction toys in the early years towards language activities.

* Build more language into their fantasy activities.

* Capitalise on boys' enjoyment of discussion, drama, making videos, interactive technology, making sure that the boys don't dominate lessons.

* Investigate what boys are borrowing from the library. Is it mainly non-fiction?

* Match fiction to their individual interests, such as sport, adventure, humour, if these are liked.

* Study the behaviour of boys in the classroom. Is it off-task? If so, why? Can their attentiveness be increased?

* Discuss the issue of "laddishness". Is it real or imagined? If real, does it matter?

* See if mixed boy and girl groups work better than the single sex groupings that often occur, explaining the purpose first.

* Encourage more boys to participate in the production of a class or school play or magazine.

* Ensure assessment covers a full range of achievement, not just narrative reading and writing, which may ignore strengths that boys may have.

* Try individual and group targets, for example, encouraging boys to explore different writing genres or read a greater variety of texts.

* Encourage more male members of boys' families to show an interest in and reinforce their work in English.

* Boys often see the purpose of literacy more if they can actually do something, so try extra- curricular activities such as arts festivals, book weeks, poetry readings, writers-in-residence.

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