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Engaging Boys in English

Discussion in 'English' started by Chrisite111, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Chrisite111

    Chrisite111 New commenter

    Hi Colleagues,

    I’m looking for some advice in engaging boys in English. I work in a co-educational high school, however due to the values of my school, boys and girls have separate classes. Since working in this environment, I have noticed a significant difference in the way boys and girls learn. I never noticed this while working in a public school!

    I have found that the girls are more willing to engage in class discussions and group work, while the boys much prefer to work independently. This can be challenging as an English teacher, as I believe that in order for my students to develop a thorough understanding of the concepts in the curriculum, discussion is really necessary. As a result, I often find that my female students out-perform the boys! I’m really hoping someone has some ideas or experience in encouraging boys to deeply engage in rich discussions about texts.
     
  2. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    They can work independently and still discuss. How about trying a Socratic seminar. Prep for that can be totally independent but they have to interact and discuss to be successful. Tons of resources and videos available online if you're new to them.
     
    tonymars likes this.
  3. Chrisite111

    Chrisite111 New commenter

    Thank you, I’ve never tried them before. I’ll definitely experiment with them in my classroom, it seem like a really engaging activity. When using this strategy, do you find that having more of a structure to the discussion helps you with management issues?
     
  4. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Definitely, especially the first few times. I'm not sure what versions you might come across but the people in the outer circle have to be totally focused so they are ready for their turn, and I have them evaluate the person in front of them. It can be as simple as tallying the number of times they contribute, or more detailed e.g. with a rubric that they highlight. Between swapping over, the outer circle gives one-on-one feedback to the inner and there are at least 4 rounds so they can apply the feedback. If that's as clear as mud, let me know. There's a particularly great book I can recommend, but I'd have to do a bit of searching to remember the title.
    Do let them watch one in action before they try so they are very clear about how it runs. It will help you all start from the same page.
     
    Naylm likes this.
  5. Kateray1

    Kateray1 Occasional commenter

    I am a private tutor and have a few boys struggling with English. I think part of the problem is embarrassment, they are too proud to make mistakes and get defensive or try anything to get out of it. Doing 1-1 means there are no ways of distracting others or themselves from me. I build confidence first and tryst in our working relationship once they see a strong leader they will follow. Use their interests for discussion / debate, challenge them to read allowed or present, build up foundation blocks so they feel able to have ago. I have seen so many improve hugely over the years even some dealing with dyslexia.
     
  6. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    I agree - I think you (and perhaps the whole school) need to do some work with the students around mindsets (especially Growth Mindsets). Is there a culture that it's not cool to be seen trying? Some stuff around goal setting with them might also be useful - showing them that in order to achieve their goals they will need to move out of their comfort zones.

    You could also try introducing some competitive speaking games e.g. running dictations, taboo, back to the board, just a minute, paired dictations, "find somebody who can tell you....?" style mingling activities. A lot of research suggests boys engage more if there is a competitive element to classes (my experience is that extraverts engage more).
     
  7. taliesyn30

    taliesyn30 New commenter

    Kahoot. A life-saver for classes full of boys! I teach English and in order to get the boys to read a text closely I create a Kahoot quiz around it - nothing too threatening or difficult but it brings in that competitive edge. After that, settling them in to doing some PEE paragraphs around the text is a piece of cake... Sorry this is a quick response, but essentially that's it!
     
  8. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Competitiveness. Rewards. Sweets. They love team work where the winning team wins some sweets.
    One evil teacher undermined me by telling me that I was bribing the boys to behave. However, the boys liked it.
    Kahoot is good too.
     
    tonymars likes this.
  9. JeffNev

    JeffNev New commenter

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