Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre

DEEWR: Resources To Engage Boys In Education

Educating Boys Report The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has produced these guides directed at teachers to enhance engagement of boys in learning. The messages from this resource hold some applicable lessons for anyone trying to engage boys and young men in learning settings.

"The project sets out to identify and describe evidence-based teaching practices that have proved effective in improving the motivation, engagement and academic and social outcomes of boys..."

The importance of embedding practices that support the engagement of boys in learning is well-known. Attaining an effective education is a pathway to better health and wellbeing throughout life with flow-on effects in better opportunities throughout the life course.

DEEWR has produced a set of resources that aim to showcase effective practices for schools to engage boys in education, with the recognition that boys do have different and separate needs from girls and that boys' educational needs have not always been provided for adequately.

The report was produced in the main by researchers at the University of Western Sydney and Central Queensland University.

Major Principles

The research focused primarily on understanding and improving motivation and 'engagement.

Strategies That Demonstrate Evidence In These Areas

The research highlighted a number of areas that showed success in the schools selected for the case studies and research:

  • Connections between home, school and the community: it is useful to consider the role of the school and its educational aims within the broader contexts of home and the community. In practical terms, this means embedding and promoting support  and connections to the home and family, as well as uncovering options for after-school activities that link home and community settings with school.
  • Whole-school strategies: this context is consistent with the principles of broader male-friendly practices being advocated in health services - those being an approach that seeks to understand the nature of male-friendly practices and the principles of a strengths-based view of masculinity. In practical terms, this means providing methods for staff to learn how to work in a male-friendly way for boys and embedding a positive approach to boys that tries to understand what they need from learning across the whole school.
  • Classroom-Based Strategies: the researchers uncovered practices within the classroom that enhance the way boys relate to the teacher and to their peers. These include active learning approaches and tasks that build on the competitive and achievement-oriented nature of boys and contextualising learning with their broader environments of society and community to make it relevant.
  • Language and Literacy Strategies: means finding ways that integrate literacy and expression into broader engagement and learning outcomes. There were some benefits of practices such as embedding ICT, group discussion and use of the kinds of written content shown to appeal to boys.

Resources Available

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