Great programs for boys are essential to the success of any school community. Boys learning and social needs are profoundly different to those of young women and schools that respect these important differences and develop cutting edge programs for boys develop the best outcomes for boys over the long-term.
Developing The Men We Need emerged from our awareness that great programs for boys were hard to find, often out-of-date and frequently failed to provide a comprehensive approach to boys education and the needs of boys in a specific and deliberate manner.
The need for great programs for boys is a hot topic. In recent decades we have devoted a great deal of much needed focus to the needs of young women in our schools. The results have been significant but we now see an increasing range of challenges for young men. Boys and education is also a topic that generates a wide range of complex and often quite strong opinion. Is there a best way to educate boys? Are there specific things that parents, teachers and schools can accomplish that will make a real difference.
Sadly, the whole area of boys and education is no longer simply about pure educational outcomes and attainment. Few observes would dispute that teachers and schools engaged in boys’ education now face an increased range of expectations in how they reach boys and aim to meet their needs. Often, schools are pushed to breaking point as young men face increasingly complex issues.
So many schools and so many teachers have to devote so much energy to addressing problematic behaviours in young men. While every school is different, some issues that schools are now forced to address include:
- Classroom disengagement of young men.
- Violent or aggressive behaviours toward staff or other students.
- Poor classroom behaviour demanding teacher attention and drawing resources away from quality teaching and learning.
- Drug and alcohol issues impacting boys and through them the wider school environment.
- Physical bullying behaviour.
- Increasing rates of depression and anxiety for many young men.
- Psychological / Emotional bullying behaviours.
- Internet addiction causing problems such as fatigue and reduced attention spans.
- Impact of violent video games and other violent media formats.
- Psychological impact of pornography addiction.
- Problems caused by a lack of engagement by fathers and other important male role models.
- Issues related to lack of initiation rites and key symbols and ceremonies of transition.