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Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies that Work -- and Why



Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies that Work -- and Why

Michael Reichert, Richard Hawley, Peg Tyre (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-470-65152-0 June 2010 Jossey-Bass 288 Pages


Based on an extensive worldwide study, this book reveals what gets boys excited about learning

Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys challenges the widely-held cultural impression that boys are stubbornly resistant to schooling while providing concrete examples of pedagogy and instructional style that have been proven effective in a variety of school settings. This book offers more than 100 detailed examples of lessons that succeed with male students, grouped thematically. Such themes include: Gaming, Motor Activities, Open Inquiry, Competition, Interactive Technology, and Performance/Role Play. Woven throughout the book is moving testimony from boys that both validates the success of the lessons and adds a human dimension to their impact.

  • The author's presents more than 100+ specific activities for all content areas that have proven successful with male students
  • Draws on an in-depth, worldwide study to reveal what lessons and strategies most engage boys in the classroom
  • Has been described as the missing link that our schools need for the better education of boys

About This Book vii

Foreword by Peg Tyre ix

Acknowledgments xiii

The Authors xv

Introduction xvii


1 Transitivity at Work: Five Effective Lessons 5

2 Creating Products 17

3 Lessons as Games 35

4 Motor Activity 65

5 Role Play and Performance 85

6 Open Inquiry 107

7 Teamwork and Competition 121

8 Personal Realization 137

9 Novelty, Drama, and Surprise 171


10 A Teacher’s Presence 195

11 A Teacher’s Knowledge 209


12 Enhancing Teacher-Student Relationships 223

13 Activating the Eliciting Process 229

14 What Schools Can Do 237

Appendix: Design and Research Methods for the

Teaching Boys Study 243

References 257

Index 259

"Anyone involved in the educational process, teachers, counselors, administrators and parents, should take a look at this book. Incorporating the testimony of the students and their teachers into the book, the authors let the parties involved explain what does and does not work." (, September 2010)

Psychologist Reichert and educator Hawley teamed up to investigate the "crisis" in boys' academic achievement by conducting a study of teachers' methods and students' performance in all-boy, college prep, middle and high schools in six English-speaking countries. Their insights into young males' own "rules of engagement" led them to three key insights: boys are relational learners who rely on a give-and-take approach with their teachers; boys elicit the kind of teaching they need via a feedback dynamic that teachers need to heed; and lessons for boys must offer at least one element to arouse and hold students' interests. Over 100 examples of successful, creative lessons from a host of instructors demonstrate what really works with boys, including stage fight techniques as part of studying Shakespeare; figuring out the odds of winning at cards; and creating a comic strip about the immune system. Much is made of how novel these lesson plans and projects are, but many of them are the familiar stuff of traditional private school curricula. A book more appropriate for teachers and administrators than parents, it is a real rubric for making learning lively and memorable in boys' lives. (Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, July 19, 2010)