It seems increasingly apparent that boys are now falling behind girls in the national average of educational achievements. This could be due to girls being introduced to the education system later than boys. The attention was placed on girls to ensure that they reached their potential under the scrutiny of the public to show it was a good idea. In the process of pushing girls achievements up the boys started to lag behind. This is very apparent these days with boys achieving below what is expected of them ever increasing the gap between the genders.
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The gender gap may have further increased due to self fulfilling prophecies, boys living up to stereotypes that had been placed upon them. By telling boys to up their game as the girls are doing better than them may have meant to spur boys on and put more effort in to do well but it may only confirm doubts they had themselves, an ironic rebound effect. This could mean that boys end up putting in even less effort than before, failing at subjects that they could easily excel in with the correct support.
There are methods that could be put in place in order to help boys indirectly reduce the gender gap and perform as they should be.
1. Pedagogic approaches
- This is an interactive classroom technique with creative teaching styles integrating ICT to improve literacy and speaking work.
2. Individual approaches
- this method includes the introduction of mentors who work and negotiate with pupils to allow them to find their confidence and work hard at something that they know they will succeed in.
- This method encourages boys to set realistic and challenging targets based on their own expectations of what they can achieve.
3. Socio-cultural approaches
- This approach draws upon boys having leading roles in the classroom, this enables boys to articulate emotions and feelings in group situations.
- Encourages team building
4. Whole classroom approaches
- Single sex classrooms with normal teaching methods aimed at an all boy cohort
These approaches are only successful if all teachers are involved in the same degree and equally passionate to enable boys to bridge the gender gap. Some methods such as pedagogy would enable all pupils, boys and girls, to excel so perhaps methods just geared at boys would be the most successful.
Methods that enable all children to excel open up a bigger question, are girls actually more academically intelligent than boys? Has the gender gap only arisen now that girls have become fully established for some years in the education system.