How To Engage Boys in The Classroom

school days by sammo241 - back to school
Teaching boys can be quite difficult because of their rambunctious nature (at least my boys are). They go running wild whether it is at recess break or during class transitions. They have so much pent up energy that I usually run into even more problems when I decide to keep them in and away from their friends for time outs. I am certain that we share the same problems, especially when it comes to addressing misbehavior in the classroom. The boys seem to be the loudest, the most active and the most spirited. Of course you can pinpoint a few of them who swim against the tide by their quiet nature, but I'm pretty sure they are in the minority. For the most part, the girls seem more on task and always eager to engage in whatever activites you may have to offer.

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
 Checkup by bitterjug - Figure walking and writing on a clipboard
 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

 Jumping rope by johnny_automatic - cartoon of a boy jumping rope from

National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture
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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