Five Additional Steps to Support Your Son
If your son is floundering in school, the best thing you can do is become his advocate and develop a working partnership with his teacher. Many educators recognize the gender gap and will go to great lengths to deliver instruction that benefits all learning styles. Share your concerns with the teacher. Outline what you believe to be your son’s learning style, his interests, and describe what motivates him. Ask the teacher for her observations as well.
1. Inquire about the different hands-on learning and problem-solving opportunities that are part of the school day.
2. Take a look at the classroom library. Are there different genres of literature available? Do you see books that will pique your son’s interest? If not, ask if parents are able to donate books to the classroom library or take books out from the local library to supplement the collection.
3. If your son requires frequent breaks, ask the teacher how she allows for that during the school day. See if your child might be able to use a squeezy ball or fidget toy to help him maintain attention during instruction.
4. Are there alternative ways—such as literacy-based computer programs and games—for boys to engage in literacy activities? If such activities are not available, see if discretionary funds are able to cover the purchase of such materials.
5. Get involved with school-based committees to see how the school administration is dealing with the gender gap issue. If it isn’t receiving much attention, form a committee designed to tackle the specific issues related to the growing gender gap in the classroom.
Though the statistics are unnerving, parents can make a difference in their sons’ education. Evaluate your child’s strengths and work with his teacher and school to see that his needs are being met. Each child learns differently, and ultimately teachers and parents have the same goal: for all children to reach their academic potential. Be aware of learning style differences and advocate for fresh and alternative teaching methods, and your son will indisputably reap the benefits.