Bright Minds, Poor Grades: What happened to the boys?


Bright Minds, Poor Grades: What happened to the boys?

By Donovan Grant

Is it a myth or are we to believe that boys are being left behind?

One 35- year veteran teacher shared his personal observations:

"I began seeing the epidemic disaffection that boys were having for education"

"I had no idea of the international scope of this crisis"

"I am totally perplexed by the illogicality of educators to recognize and deal with this gender gap illiteracy problem"

The truth is that surveys are only as good as the sample of data used to create the results. However, if you do have a son, you could be ignoring these warning signs at your peril.

In the UK the talk of a modern day educational gender gap is often talked of. It seems that this gap is the great disadvantage that boys now face compared to girls in educational outcomes. You may not be thinking this far ahead, but the impact of boys' lagging reading and writing performance and their academic failures could show up in their future income potential, life skills and marriageability!  

What happens when boys are not making the grades?

Many of these boys become disciplinary problems. Some get suspended or even excluded from school just to avoid the embarrassment of anyone knowing that they cannot read or write. This is sad, but true.

One thing to note is that research also indicates that it does not only concern poor or minority boys. Many boys from affluent parents and some even work as professionals in educational institutions and their boys are included in a system that is failing. The question still remains- why are the girls making the grades? Lame old mottos such as "Boys will be boys" have become out dated and must end.

What are some of the possible causes for this trouble?

·         ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

·         Too much time spent playing video games

·         There is a big lack of male teachers especially in the early years

·         Boys have major emotional vulnerabilities that are not being adequately met

·         Undeveloped life skills and social skills

·         The education system is geared more to the learning styles and interests of girls.


These are just a few possible causes, but the question still remains- is this childhood development for boys real? If it is then the general consensus would suggest that it is a neglected problem.

We have two daughters and a son who is 9 years old. I am happy to say that he is a very bright lad and he has always done well in school. Over the past year or so he has been coming home saying that “school was boring”, “I didn’t learn anything new” or “I don’t like school”. These have been alarm bells for me and Jen and we’ve made it our duty to meet with teachers and keep in touch with our sons learning. We never had this challenge with the girls!

As we teach our son at home too, we know his ability and are happy that he is still progressing. What this simple example demonstrates is that other boys can easily fall into this trap if child development is not monitored at home. If we the parents fail to keep on top of things, it could be your son failing.

I’m sure that you’ll agree that strong literacy is absolutely necessary not only for success in school and college, but in many other areas of life. So we need’ break the dam’ holding back serious consideration of boy-friendly education techniques.

Some solutions that have been used to help a child develop are now being questioned….

·         Keep the boys on medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorders

·         Accept that many of these boys simply drop out of school

·         Allow the boys to do their catching up at college

·         Improved teaching techniques to address the problems.

What we really need is more connection with parents, principals, head teachers, school boards, and state legislatures. This platform could then insist that schools report results by gender and provide better youth service to address any problems that show up in those results.

It's time to have a grassroots movement with parents and teachers where we shout  "Why Do Boys Fail?" until someone listens!

Fellow parents and teachers – make your voices heard!

Ps. if you know a boy in this trap, there are no magic pills so don't expect to solve the problems over night. Just give him all the assistance that you can. Keep asking questions, even if it seems to irritate him. As long as he knows that you still care enough not to give up on him, he'll be ok.

Let’s raise successful boys together!

I believe in you and your dreams.

Pps. Got a comment about boys success or failure? It would be great to hear from you. Leave a comment below . . .

Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations.  He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play.

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