New Book Helps Teachers Create Boy-Friendly Classrooms

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New Book Helps Teachers Create Boy-Friendly Classrooms
--Shares Strategies to Break Stereotypes that Hinder Boys’ Achievement

Washington, D.C., June 16, 2010 – A growing body of research raises concerns about boys’ lack of social-emotional development in school, their high rates of expulsion and referrals to special education, and low academic achievement in reading compared to girls. African-American and Hispanic boys are particularly at risk in these areas, the data suggest. A new book examines the gender stereotypes that undermine boys’ academic and social development and provides teachers with practical classroom strategies they can use to help young boys succeed in school.

Supporting Boys’ Learning: Strategies for Teacher Practice PreK—Grade 3 is a call for teachers to take the necessary steps to help boys succeed, rather than accepting or reinforcing stereotypes about their behavior or ability. Too often, teachers assume that boys are difficult to teach and control in class, a stigma that often results in male students’ isolation or exclusion from activities, the authors say.

“Teachers and parents also may wrongly assume that boys are ‘naturally’ poor readers, in the same way they mistakenly believe that girls cannot perform as well as boys in science and math,” said Barbara Sprung, one of the book’s authors. Subtle discouragement that boys face may contribute to them falling behind girls in reading.

Supporting Boys’ Learning, published by Teachers College Press, was written by Barbara Sprung and Merle Froschl, co-directors of the AED Educational Equity Center; and Nancy Gropper, faculty member and co-chair of the Department of General Teacher Education at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York, a leading institution focused on early childhood education and child development.

“We wrote this book to help teachers break from prevailing stereotypes about boys—they may not even be aware of the signals they’re sending,” said Froschl. “It offers teachers examples of classroom activities and interactions, reading materials, and curricula that are geared to boys’ interests.”

Supporting Boys’ Learning grew out of the Raising and Educating Healthy Boys Project, an initiative the AED Educational Equity Center launched in 2003, which brought together researchers and educators to examine boys’ academic and social development and suggest strategies for improving it. The book can be purchased through Teacher’s College Press at www.tcpress.com.

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