Barton concentrates on the age old problem of engaging students, and particularly boys, with the idea of language learning. Her main premise is that boys and girls are generally different, and often need different styles of teaching as a result, i.e. boys might prefer more active and performative lessons while girls might not want to put themselves forward by speaking up during a class. Barton’s book is separated into sections for reading, writing, listening and speaking, and provides detailed explanations of why there might be problems and suggestions on how to solve them.
The overall tone is lighthearted, and there is a sense that she is not taking herself seriously. This makes it much easier to read than other books with similar topics. It has quotes from students she interviewed while writing the book, which are cited complete with grammar mistakes, linguistic idiosyncrasies and often swear words. Many of them are insightful and show genuine interest in language learning, others are just hilarious!
I can definitely recommend this book, it’s lighthearted and down to earth style make it easy to read, but the author’s clear expertise and subject knowledge make it a very useful read too.