Teaching Boys

Brad M. Griffin | Dec 3, 2010

Last year we ran an article series on issues related to adolescent boys called Just Guys. One of the topics that inevitably comes up in ministry with boys is how to engage them through our teaching.

As this recent EdWeek article Hopeful News on Teaching Boys highlights, teaching boys can be hard. Author Michael C. Reichert notes, At every grade level and in every demographic category, boys are dragging down overall achievement averages. Yet research with over 1500 teen boys uncovered the following:

Among the key components to approaches that work [in engaging boys in learning] was the finding that boys, at their best, are “relational learners” and that the relationships teachers and students mutually forge precede their engagement in classroom lessons. This finding was found across geographical boundaries and various types of schools, at all grade levels, in all scholastic disciplines, and independently of the gender of the teacher.

This would be no surprise if we were describing what we think girls need from teachers. Were often led to believe that guys dont want relational connection as long as they can get active and do something experiential. Yet whether its counterintuitive or not, according to this study boys are more responsive when teachers are able to care, to be present, and to be flexible.

How do these findings inform the ways you tend to approach teaching boys?

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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