Facilitating a "Boy Friendly" Environment in the Classroom and at Home
Occasionally, we like to provide resources and articles that might be helpful to you as parents. In this week’s blog, we have asked Michelle Embry, Upper School Assistant Principal, to share some pointers about teaching boys and helping them manage their stress at home and school. We plan to address the special needs of girls in a future blog.
In the book, Writing the Playbook: A Practitioner’s Guide to Creating a Boy-Friendly School, author Kelley King offers many great nuggets regarding how to create positive instructional experiences as well as important ideas about dealing with young men in times of conflict and/or discipline. As I continued through this book, I realized that many of the ideas that the author presented in an effort of facilitating a “boy-friendly” environment in the classroom, are concepts that could be helpful to parents of young men as well. Here are a few tips taken from a section on discipline, particularly when the young man’s behavior may have created a stressful situation:
Ideas dealing with Stress:
Don’t ask a boy “What were you thinking?” right after an emotional or stressful incident. He wasn’t thinking; he was reacting.
Allow boys time to cool off after a stressful incident. A drink of water can reduce stress.
When it’s time to talk, go for a walk. The physical movement lowers stress and increases blood flow to the brain.
Talk to boys privately. Do not lecture or punish them publicly. It will seriously damage the boys’ trust in you if he is embarrassed in front of his peers.
Emotion is dominant over cognition. Identify and help resolve student stress so attention can return to learning.
Another category that I found particularly helpful in the classroom that you can also re-enforce at home was a section regarding how to help boys stay organized. Below are some great strategies for helping your boy complete assignments at home:
Ideas dealing with Organization
Insist your boy consults his planner while working on homework.
Remind him to keep his binder organized according to the structure the teacher has advised.
Advise your boy to keep homework in a consistent location where he can easily locate it to turn it in the next day.
Follow up with boys; don’t let them slip through the cracks. Follow up to make sure he is turning in assignments and understands the importance of homework. Too many boys are okay with taking a zero.
I have no indication that the author is a believer, yet this person has done loads of research and has used the research to support her belief that young men can thrive in a school setting when educators provide an environment that supports who they are and how they are wired as young men. Also, let me say that although this particular study was aimed at helping boys reach their full potential in the classroom, it doesn’t mean all of this isn’t valuable and conducive for our female learners as well. Interestingly, these findings completely support how the Lord God would have us to relate to all of those in our circle of influence--peers and little ones alike. It is important to honor the student/child as a person of dignity and worth and be careful to do nothing to strip away his/her dignity.
Enjoyed this blog and looking for more parenting tips? We desire to partner with you as parents. Our Lower School Principal, Sandi Jolly, is continuing to offer Love and Logic training through the month of November. This training provides practical tools for parents in such areas as providing limits, teaching responsibility, consequences, and healthy decision making. It utilizes story-telling, humor, hope and empathy to build the adult-child relationship. Check out the brochures and calendars below for more information!