|CleverClaire, via Flickr (CC license)|
|Could class blogs help motivate boys to catch up in school?|
I just listened to the podcast of the July 27 edition of Colorado Matters, a show from Colorado Public Radio. The segment Some Districts Move Toward Gender Education. CPR’s Dan Meyers interviewed Kelley King, Director of Education at the Colorado Springs-based Gurian Institute, which offers gender education training to teachers.
The gist of their discussion was that boys tend to underperform in K-12 education, largely (according to King) because US K-12 teaching approaches have historically been more geared to the way girls tend to learn, get motivated and behave.
King said that one pervasive problem she saw as a teacher and principal in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) was that “We were having problem getting boys to rewrite and revise something that they’d already written. Once they wrote something, they were pretty much done with it. We realized we had to have something more motivating — which would be bigger audiences, pleasing someone other than just the teacher. …We know that boys aren’t as inclined to just want to please the teacher.”
BVSD experimented with approaches such as having students prepare work that they would read at an assembly, or to older children, and found that this did improve boys’ motivation and performance. Apparently, girls’ performance did not suffer.
This got me wondering about blogs…
Imagine this: A 5th grade class might have its own blog, but it’s not just open for any student to post. Students would work with the teacher to get their assignments or other work in good enough shape to post. That work would include revisions — and maybe even research, learning to include links and pictures, etc.
That content would then be available through a network of blogs, perhaps on the school’s site. Students would be encouraged to read and comment on other students’ work — and those comments would be moderated, and teachers would work with students to teach them about civility, tolerance, and constructive criticism as well as spelling, grammar, and coherence.
I’m not a boy, but I know this would have done wonders for my motivation in school! I pretty much got A’s if I liked the teacher and assignments, or F’s because I ignored them otherwise and did my own thing. I’m not sure this difference in approach King recommends is so much about gender as personality type, but who knows…
I know many K-12 classes already have blogs, but are any schools doing something like this? Or homeschool groups? I’d love to learn more. Please comment below