A Schoolwide Plan for Educating Boys

The concept that female teachers may inadvertently teach more to the learning styles of girls than of boys was very much discussed in the mid-1970s by the former Associate Superintendent of Schools who became my principal. His multi-aged groupings of students in reading and math levels based on mastery learning and varied rates of learning (instead of strict grade level curriculum) in his model school well accommodated the learning style of boys.  The elementary/middle school’s building design had been built to incorporate open walls among 5 classrooms, with 5 teachers in one large pod – housing either 1, 2, 3 grade students together, or another pod housing 2, 3, 4th grade students together, or 4, 5, 6th together or 5, 6, 7th grades together.  The model children were the oldest in each pod.  They became the leaders within their pod.

Boys, as well as girls, became leaders and there was much movement between areas of the pod, which accommodates the energy level of boys and the need they have for periodic movement.  This outstanding principal often held workshops with his teaching staff to inform them of how that model was efficacious for boys, who often were required to sit still for too long a period of time under some female teachers.  This was in 1975 – 1983.  The pods were open in space for movement between levels as different students advanced at their own rates and could easily find another instruction grouping, if necessary, in the same multi-aged pod, if they were faster or slower than their assigned groups of about 7 or 8 children. My principal was way ahead of his time regarding instruction.  I was blessed that he promoted me to be his ILT for I learned much working with him.  He had studied the educational theories and works of Dr. John Goodlad, who was still working into the 21st century.

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