With exam results time upon us, a lot of newspaper inches has been given up to the news that girls have pulled ahead of boys in their GCSE results.

See the TES, the Independent, the Guardian and the BBC for examples.

Everyone seems very interested to theorise about this phenomenon. Girls are more mature at 16, the coursework (even the new ‘controlled coursework’) caters to how girls learn, some more extreme theories explain that the education system is systematically biased towards boys because teachers are overwhelmingly female.

It’s true that girls do better at school. In my humble opinion, the reasons are simple. Girls are allowed to work hard, do their homework, pay attention, sit still and show interest in class. For a boy to do this would be ‘girly’, ‘gay’ or ‘geeky’. The culture of masculinity bans studiousness. We need to change this culture, not the exams.

In the TES an expert says that even the new coursework caters to girls better than boys and that boys prefer last minute revision. This implies that because girls are achieving higher we need to change the system – make all exams end of course cram sessions or set ‘boy friendly’ reading books for the English exams (like Kestrel for a knave or of Mice and Men perhaps…. Oh, right). The books on the syllabus are classics – important books that deserve to be read, the coursework requirement mimics an important element of work – projects with a deadline, editing, proofreading – these are skills that both boys and girls need.

We need to stop making excuses for boys, we don’t do them any favours. We need to expect them to do the work, to try their best. We need to change the dominant culture that says learning isn’t cool, academic achievement is for girls (and whatever is for girls is naturally inferior) and homework is irrelevant.

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3 Responses to

  1. walkingthroughmud says:

    Hey Miss B

    I’ve just read through your blog and just wanted to say how much I empathize with you. I finished my PGCE last year (well….june 2011) and before starting had just assumed all would fall into place – i’d get a job, get my golden hello, be able to get married and buy a house. but all this is just on hold as i can’t find a job.
    i’m currently doing day to day supply and pretty much hate it. I started off optimistic, thinking that getting experience in different schools would be good, and maybe I’d get inside info about an up-coming job. But no such luck, I just feel like I’m waiting out the day, have no real authority over these children, and no where to sit in the staffroom!!!
    You haven’t written for a while so I’m hoping perhaps you’ve managed to secure some sort of more permanent job? either that or given up entirely……
    I think right now I’d be quite happy to do anything, I’d take any job, doing just about anything……but of course the problem then is what to do, and how any employer is really going to take on a trained teacher, knowing that you’re probably going to still be looking for teaching jobs.
    good luck …….and you are not alone!!!! xxxxxx

    • Miss B Have says:

      I’d love to say that I’d found a job and that’s why I’m not writing, but it’s because my never ending job search doesn’t make good reading.

      I appreciate your comment, it’s good to know I’m not alone. I wish you (and myself) all the luck in the world in your job search. 🙂

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