The Boy Question : How To Teach Boys To Succeed In School book cover
1st Edition

The Boy Question
How To Teach Boys To Succeed In School

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ISBN 9780367509118
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
178 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Following on from the huge success of Boys Don’t Try? this essential new book answers nine key questions about how teachers and schools can best tackle boys’ academic underperformance. For decades schools have grappled with the most significant barriers to male academic success: a lack of motivation to succeed, poor attitudes to learning, lower literacy levels and a reluctance to read for pleasure or write at length. In this compelling book, Mark Roberts provides clear answers about how teachers can tackle ‘The Boy Question’.

Each chapter answers a frequently asked question about how best to teach boys, outlining the issue and demonstrating what can be done about it. Informed by a wealth of research and the author’s personal experience of successfully teaching boys, this book offers an abundance of practical advice for the busy classroom teacher. It will shine a light on what makes boys tick and how we can design effective curriculums to ensure they can best acquire powerful knowledge.

With practical advice and examples to help address anti-social attitudes and stem the cycle of boys’ underachievement, this is essential reading for all teachers and school leaders.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part A: Motivating boys to work hard  1. How can I motivate boys to succeed in my classroom?  2. How should I react to boys who misbehave in my classroom?  3.Do boys need male teachers as role models?  Part B: Instilling high expectations in boys  4. How can I improve the study skills of the boys I teach?  5. How can I give boys effective feedback?  6. What do high levels of challenge for boys look like?  Part C: Developing boys’ literacy  7. How can I improve boys’ academic writing?  8. What can I do to get boys reading?  9. How can I improve boys’ creative writing?

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Mark Roberts is Director of Research at a school in Northern Ireland. Previously, he has worked at schools in Devon and Manchester. Mark writes books and articles about teaching and studying English and is also a frequent contributor to TES on subjects including pedagogy, behaviour, leadership and educational research.


'It’s one thing to identify a problem, quite another to suggest some workable solutions. In The Boy Question Mark Roberts achieves the second with remarkable acuity. He provides compelling insights into why many boys are not achieving what they might, unpicks the research and provides really helpful suggestions for cracking some of the issues. This book is beautifully constructed; colleagues will find the research invaluable, particularly as it is translated into workable suggestions for the classroom. There are some hard hitting messages here, but Mark delivers them with such sensitivity and nuance that the proposals he suggests become utterly compelling.'

Mary Myatt, Education Thinker and Writer

'Boys Don't Try? proved a smash-hit with teachers because the authors tackled one of the biggest issues for teachers – the 'Boy Question' – with skill and a rich array of evidence. Mark Roberts returns to tackle the topic of boys in education with another terrific account of the struggles and successes of boys. With chapters from motivation to misbehaviour, to role models and writing, Roberts marshals’ key evidence, slims down complex debates, and shares eminently practical approaches for the classroom. If you are seeking ways to ensure boys do better in your school, this is definitely the book for you.'

Alex Quigley, Author and National Content Manager at the Education Endowment Foundation

'I loved this book. It is a grounded and balanced exploration of how we can work to support and challenge boys to aim high and fulfil their potential. It outlines some of the unhelpful assumptions and preconceptions which may hold us back from having ambitious aspirations for the boys in our classrooms, before going on to answer the question: "What can we do about it?"

The book is very well-researched and thoroughly referenced. It is up to date, offering insights into navigating the current pandemic. Its broad scope is reflected in the examples it includes from a range of different subject areas. Mark is eminently reasonable in his expectations with respect to teacher workload, showing how focussing on what is most effective can often correlate to adopting practices which are less labour- and time-intensive than our previous practice.

The Boy Question is strongly recommended for all those responsible for teaching, or raising, boys. It makes clear that considering the evidence, avoiding the pitfalls and following some of the suggested strategies will help the girls in our schools to succeed, too.'

Jill Berry, Former Head, now Leadership Development Consultant and Education Commentator

'This is a fascinating read. It’s very insightful into how teacher behaviour and pedagogy impact the motivation of students, especially boys. Roberts discusses role models, study skills, tips on effective feedback, and developing literacy in boys. At the end of each chapter, he has five steps to success: these are like mini summaries of the chapter and would be great to have on the wall of a classroom... A great book to have on the CPD shelf, you can dip in and out of or just read from cover to cover.'

Tanya Henning, The School Librarian