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In recent years, much has been researched and written regarding the different ways boys and girls develop and learn. While there are certainly similarities within each gender- there is also great variance. Although it may be helpful to consider some of the broad differences in the way in which boys and girls learn, in fact, many strategies considered effective for boys are also effective for girls, and vice versa.

Research suggests :

  • focusing on active learning, e.g. group discussions, hands-on activities, collaborative learning, etc.
  • providing texts in a variety of genres, with a balance of male and female protagonists, that reflect evolving roles in society
  • offering opportunities for choice e.g. what to read and write, projects of interest, ways to demonstrate learning, etc.
  • including a variety of individual, collaborative and competitive activities
  • using technology
  • creating a respectful learning environment free from sexual harassment, including sexist jokes, derogatory language, put-downs etc.
  • teaching critical reading strategies that will help students recognize gender bias

Consult the experts

Over the last few years, there have been some excellent resources developed with boys in mind. Much of this research is directed toward boys at the elementary level. However, the ideas presented on these sites can provide support for ALL the students in our classrooms.

  • The Ontario government has an excellent document called, Me Read ? No Way ! It is filled with practical strategies for improving boys’ (and girls’) literacy skills.
  • Check out the following lists for great books that have proven to be favourites for many students.

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