This report is to attempt to understand why boys achieve statistically lower results in examinations than girls in every facet of educational levels. Before 1985 British males regularly achieved the necessary qualifications to get into university were as the girls did not seem to achieve so greatly. This is probably due to a very male dominated curriculum, however, over the past twenty years, this roles have reversed drastically. Boys now struggle to gain the required results whereas girls are now consistently achieving the higher grades at all key stages.
This is possibly due to social change and problems inherent in the system such as unemployment (skilled and unskilled trades are not as abundant), single parent families (the absence of male role models could be key in male behaviour), drugs and crime seem to draw young males into this vicious circle compared to females; also laddish subcultures, peer pressure, yielding to the rebellious, portraying themselves as ‘cool’ to their piers.
Why do British boys consistently underachieve academically in contrast to British girls in all subjects in education? In 1977, a school in Birmingham was subjected to an investigation by Marxist sociologist Paul Willis, the discoveries made would be of great importance. Willis wanted to discover why ‘working class boys get working class jobs’. He concentrating on one group of boys in particular, these where white males, and referred to themselves as ‘the lads’, Willis realised that’ the lads’ fought the system rather than worked within it.
These males that achieving academic success and paying attention in class, had no future bearing on the work that they would end up doing in the future. In fact they believed that to be able to have a laugh and a joke with friends and co-workers was a much more valid skill to take into the world. Due to the Globalisation there is a major decline in the manufacturing of steel, iron and mining industries in Britain. Countries such as China have snatched up a lot of British working class jobs, offering cheaper labour and thus cheaper production.
The effect of this is that, previously boys could leave school at 16 years old, having gained no qualifications but still have a working class job or could enter into training for skilled work however this stable trend has dropped away over the last twenty plus years, leaving these young men unemployed. This has become a major social problem whereas previously it was an educational issue. Peer pressure and ‘laddish’ subcultures, factor greatly in the downfall in male achievement on an academic level. As Mairtin Mac an Ghaill discovered in 1994, boys are far more interested in football, fighting and fucking and would defiantly adhere to this.
School yard culture is very cliquey and group based, so the desire to fit in and be seen as normal doesn’t inspire boys to excel. Jackson, 2006 found that boys and girls at Key Stage level three, the boys preferred to have a laugh and mess about in class, making them appear ‘cool’ to their peers, however their social-class or background had no influence on this. Although many children enjoy laughing, joking and messing around within the classroom, it is boys who are a lot more likely to continue to go beyond a certain stage of what’s considered unacceptable and find themselves in detention.
According to DfES 2006. The number of boys kept in detention outnumber girls by 4 to 1 and 83% of all exclusions are boys. As we can see excelling is not seen by males as ‘cool’ and is liable to lead to bulling, Francis 2001 discovered that “working class boys tend to reject schoolwork to avoid being referred to as ‘gay’, also popular young male opinion suggests that working class males feel that ‘real men do real work’ and with a mind to under-achieve these boys will turn to other activities to fuel their procrastination. The internet and computer games are perfect examples of these modern pastimes.
Generally it is found that girls, on average, mange to be more motivated, organised, willing to do their homework, care about their studies (achieving deadlines and handing in well presented, well thought out work). Girls are also found to pursue extracurricular activities; self investment seems to be something that girls seek over boys who again find them not trying for fear of the opinions of others. Its is conceivable that the high number of female teachers in nursery and primary schools (83% in 2000) could effect the learning process in young males however this is suggesting that males need male teachers to act as good role models.
Increasingly divorce rate within modern society has produced higher numbers of single parent families; within these families the majority trend is that the mother is the parent within the home. Again the issue of consistent male role models is questioned, possibly the break up of a family home will have a larger impact on a child’s education and life in general, than the levels of structure and discipline each parent chooses to apply. The UCAS annual results report shows that in 1983/84, 15 year old girls and boys achieving 5 or more GCSE’s between grades A-C, the girls were only fractionally ahead of boys, 27.
2% (girls), 26. 3% (boys). In the same poll taken in 1995/96 the gap has increased significantly, 49. 3 (girls), 39. 8 (boys). Students going on from GCSE’s to A/S and A levels, tend to achieve results that are much closer, though girls still come out on top. The problem seems to be attributed to children less than 16 years of age as the results continue to reflect poor male academic achievement. Conclusion Men/ boys generally liked to be mothered and taken care of, possibly laziness is simply the bane of modern men.
The absence of male role models in single parent’s families, probably isn’t a large contributor to the lapse in mental drive and achievement. Though few mothers will play outdoor sports and other laddish pursuits; this probably leads slovenly attitudes, laziness and de-motivation. It is said that a healthy home life transcends to a productive education. However a negative male role model can also be detrimental to the future ambitions, for example; the generation gap for certain people affect their views on males finding and unlocking their inner selves, their feminine sides and the desire for self discovery.
The British journal the New Scientist found that the configuration of a family has no impact on the educational welfare of the child, contrary to theories that single parented children are prone to rebellious behaviour and academic failure. Modern male pastimes include gaming and the internet, these take up vast amounts of time, leading to fatigue and short attention spans. More productive pursuits like homework and sports get left out leading to a lack of continuity and discipline.
With the before mentioned changes in education and society are factually true and are possible contributors to the decline in male achievement. Its is probably more likely that females are striving to better themselves in a rapidly changing world, and that males largely don’t know what they want to do, so they stand at the crossroads of indecision watching the girls in the forging of careers for themselves.
Sources http://www. successtelevision. com/index. php/Relationship/Parenting/Children-s-Success-in-Single-Parent-Households. html plus Classroom handouts.