Here are a few tips that I found that can help in engaging our boys in the classroom.
Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, both renowned writers, suggested the following strategies.
1. Use more graphics and pictures in literacy-based instruction
It is suggested that when teachers use graphics and pictures in their delivery, the boys respond better. They retain more information and they write with more detail.
2. Use more hands-on, kinesthetic and project-driven assignments.
The more boys are engaged in projects that require physical movement, the more they are likely to retain information and score higher in tests and assignments. They enjoy the opportunity to move around rather than seat work.
3. Provide competitive learning opportunities
Arrange them in groups and raise the stakes with a competitive element. Boys just love to compete. They will work really hard and learn lots more too!
4. Teach them to manage their time
Boys need to learn how to manage their time, especially when at school. They play a lot and sometimes this play is translated into the classroom. They also need to learn how to do their homework and how to follow directions.
5. Regularly include nontraditional materials such as comics, magazines.
Have you ever seen how boys faces light up when they see comic books and magazines? They immediately show interest. I believe that we really need to get in tuned with the comics that they like and use them to capture their attention and interest in the classroom.
6. Move around as you teach
For some reason boys are more attentive when the teacher is in motion. It sounds strange, but, according to Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, " Instructors' physical movement increases boys' engagement, and includes the teacher leading students in physical "brain breaks"—quick, one-minute brain-awakening activities—that keep boys' minds engaged." In other words, get them movin' with you.
7. Let them move around as they learn
Boys also need an opportunity that calls for lots and lots of movement in the classroom. Sitting still is not game for them. Get them to perform actions when they are reading, or tap their feet when they hear a particular sound, letter or word.
8. Male mentoring
Get a male mentor such as a fellow teacher or a parent to provide the necessary guidance from a male perspective. I know that some parents would love to give a helping hand from time to time.
9. Use boys-only groups
Arrange a boy's-against-girls competition and see how that goes. The boys would be beaming!
10. Provide skill building for sensitive boys
It is suggested that those boys who tend to shy away from others and keep to themselves need to be handled just as carefully as the loud ones. As a teacher you can identify those boys and get the necessary assistance to ensure that their needs are attended to.
So now that you have some ideas, let's see how things will turn out for you in the next school year.
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