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Why do we have such low expectations of boys

(82 Posts)
AbbyR1973 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:56:44

Often I read threads on here about reading/writing/maths and inevitably sooner or later someone pops up with a comment like "well he is a boy" or "boys aren't developmentally ready until they are 6" etc etc...
I find this very depressing and clearly is a message that is getting through to the boys themselves.
DS1 who does extremely well at school in year r and is by far and away ahead of his peers actually said to me last week "Mummy boys have weaker brains than girls." I was horrified that he should say something like that as a matter of fact. Heaven only knows where he heard it!!
We need to give our boys positive messages.

Biscuitsneeded Fri 28-Jun-13 21:47:47

I totally agree we shouldn't be giving children the message that either gender has to conform to any stereotypes. And luckily there will always be children who challenge those stereotypes. However, when I look at my son's Y1 class going into school in the morning, nearly all the girls are lining up correctly, and sitting 'nicely' while waiting to go in, while 75% of the boys are tearing around whacking each other until actually called to line up. Of course there are exceptions on both sides of the gender divide, but if we're talking about general trends, as a Mum of 2 boys I would have to concur that yes, generally speaking they are slower to get reading and writing, find it harder to concentrate in the earlier years. However, once into about Year 2, it's another story altogether.

orangeandemons Fri 28-Jun-13 21:56:13

I'm a teacher too, although a secondary teacher. I try to avoid these threads from past bitter experience, but I'm with Back2two.

I didn't think like this before I started teaching. There have been many studies done on how boys anfpd girls learn differently, and some secondary schools have trialled teaching boys and girls in separate classes with different teaching styles,which showed improvements in results for both sexes.

I do think their brains are hard wired differently and it isn't a social or environmental thing.

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 22:07:20

Where are the studies?

(I know that in KS1 parents make excuses for boys, and don't make excuses for girls.)

Back2Two Fri 28-Jun-13 22:11:46

iPad... No where am I saying that boys are "boisterous" nor that they need (e.g. castles, weapons, killing, army, etc - boy things) to make learning "accessible" ( oh, my god...this approach to teaching boys would make me refuse to take my son to school) These are all your judgements and words. I absolutely have belief at all that they boys are "developmentally delayed" in any way except if we insist on judging them and measuring them on educational "goals" which are not relevant to them.

Back2Two Fri 28-Jun-13 22:13:33

Have *NO belief

MrButtercat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:15:17

iPad you're talking rot,nobody bends over backwards from boys.

MrButtercat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:15:35


southeastastra Fri 28-Jun-13 22:16:29

my older son was really academic and got on well with school my other son struggled

primary schools are focussed on one way of learning imo which is mad as there are so many learning styles, i really don't get why kids aren't assessed as to what their learning style is at a young age and their teaching tailored to that need. ime some kids need to learn through play for a longer time than others yet i see the gov has decided to cut that as well.


MrButtercat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:18:10

I think girls handle structured learning better,that isn't to say they wouldn't benefit from less structured leaning too.

orangeandemons Fri 28-Jun-13 22:20:04

one here

I can find plenty of others

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 22:24:31

Many many parents and other adults believe that boys are developmentally delayed.
(BTW I was being slightly tongue in cheek with the killing thing, although many video games targeted to boys seem to concentrate on it.)

It is not only educational goals that we are assessing boys on. It is their 'level of maturity' as well. Many parents (please believe me here) would find it perfectly acceptable for their child to be behaving inappropriately because they 'are just boys', where, in fact, they are socially immature. I think this social immaturity has something to do with low expectations.

Boys tend to spend much more time on computer games than girls (and certainly on more violent games). I also think this is affecting their ability to interact socially, to play with other children (with rules) and to share.

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 22:26:20

mrbuttercat 99% of Ofsted reports over the last 10 years have slated boys achievement. So primary schools have been bending over backwards to keep the boys happy at school...

TolliverGroat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:33:41

"It was a male primary school teacher that led a session at school for parents/carers on different learning styles etc. that told us that the muscular development of boys made fine motor skills more difficult at an early age (or something close to this, I can't remember exactly, 'twas last year)"

Really? All boys have more difficulty with fine motor skills than all girls? For most traits for which there are observable statistical differences between the sexes the difference is very slight (something like "the average girl is more [whatever] than two-thirds of boys" -- which still leaves one-third of boys who out-score half the girls in whatever trait is being measured).

So making generalisations like "boys have poorer fine motor skills" or "boys have a greater need for physical activity" is unhelpful and largely irrelevant. Some children have poorer fine motor skills than others, and there are some strategies that should be employed to help with that. On a population level, statistically more of those children will be boys than will be girls, but not actually all that many more. And in any individual class the numbers could be equally split, or there could be more girls with poor fine motor skills than boys. Similarly, some children have a greater need for physical activity than others, and there are some strategies that should be employed to help with that. On a population level, statistically more of those children will be boys than will be girls, but not actually all that many more. And in any individual class the numbers could be equally split, or there could be more girls than boys with a need for regular physical activity.

If you get hung up on "boys are this, girls are that" theories in education then it's wrong and detrimental to both the boys and the girls who don't fit into those neat categories -- who may be the minority (although in any given class they could be the majority) but even so are likely to be a very sizeable minority. Thinking about the different needs of children as individuals and then mentally grouping those individuals into loose categories of "may benefit from such-and-such an approach"

MrButtercat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:34:11

Ipad your last 2 posts were absolute rubbish,every single word.

I have twin boys,a daughter,twin nephew boys and we have countless boys in our life- all are beautifully behaved and don't behave in appropriately and most certainly aren't allowed to do so.

Sick and tired of this neg/anti boy attitude.

My dc have the same rules re screen time. Pmsl that you think parents say ok Johny you have as much screen time as you like but Jane you can have less.hmm

orangeandemons Fri 28-Jun-13 22:35:48

My ds spent all his teenage years on games. He interacted fantastically well with all the other online game nerds, and made friends with them all. In fact he lives in a shared house at uni with some of them.

So I would say they actually enhanced his ability to share and interact socially

MrButtercat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:39:22

My dp is a software developer,one of my boys are G&T re IT,he is the most caring,sharing,social child you could wish for.All 3 have exactly the same limited screen time. Sharing and screen time are down to parenting for both genders.

MrButtercat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:41:17

shock at the sweeping negative stereotyping re boys.If it was aimed at girls oh the uproar w'd have.

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 22:47:13

Mr buttercat The Ofsted comment was a fact, so not rubbish.

I have sat through so many parent interviews with parents making stock excuses for their boys' academic performance or behaviour that I could write a book about it.

I also know (from talking to children) what they spend their time doing in the evenings. Many boys are stuck to a computer (hopefully, at 7 years old, not interacting with other 'online game nerds') playing aggressive games.

(Well said tolliver)

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 22:48:17

Mrbuttercat You are very wise limiting screen time.
There aren't many parents like you.

MrButtercat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:50:06

Not the 7 year boys I know.

All the parents of boys I know have high expectations.

Please do list all these things schools bend over backwards to do for boys.

gussiegrips Fri 28-Jun-13 22:50:20

some boys are ghastly.

Some girls are ghastly.

And, some, mixture of either.


*I have some nice boys and some nice girls. Who can also be impossible little buggers when the mood takes them.

HormonalHousewife Fri 28-Jun-13 22:51:53

In answer to your question I most certainly do not have low expectations of my sons.


TolliverGroat Fri 28-Jun-13 22:54:51

Is it actually a fact that "99% of Ofsted reports over the last 10 years have slated boys achievement"? Do you have a source for that figure?

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 22:55:48

Here are a few:
Teach a creative curriculum with active parts to the lesson, so not sitting down all the time.

Literacy to involve outside work/practical 'experience'

Introduce reading schemes that 'appeal to boys' (massive bandwagon for educational publishers)

Have outside lessons / forest schools

Encourage children to broaden their learning through research - bring in info from home, share with class.

Introduce some kind of competition.

5madthings Fri 28-Jun-13 22:56:11

Ultimately all children are different. I certainly don't have low expectations for my boys.

Currently ds1 is predicted all a* and a's in his GCSE's and ds2 did level six SATs papers.

Ds3 is doing well and ds4 also doing well, yr three and reception.

I have read that boys are more likely to have issues with fine motor control but haven't noticed it too much with mine but they spent a lot if time playing with Lego and fiddly little toys etc which I guess helps develop that.

My dd is only two but seems very similar to the boys at the same age.

I hate gender stereotyping esp in children, they all develop differently and have diff interests because they are individuals.

Certainly my boys teachers have never made comments re achievement/ability and gender and I don't either.

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