Posted on 21/01/2016

About A Boy: Part 3

In last week’s blog I described two of the ways we have geared FBS towards boys. This week let me give you three more.

Engage and Inspire

A school geared towards boys knows how to engage and inspire them. This is why we put such emphasis on recruiting and retaining teachers who understand boys and can bring out the best in them.

I know a boy quite well who, when he was in primary school, went on a school trip and when he came home spent twenty minutes describing to his mother how a war plane discharged its bombs. The same boy could never remember the difference between ‘of’ and ‘off’. Why? The one captured his imagination and made an impression, the other didn’t. If they are not interested, getting them to learn about it will be painful. According to Winston Churchill, ‘Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn’. We need to keep coming up with ways in every subject to capture the imagination of our boys. Once boys are interested they will soak it up, even reading for pleasure – which is why our library, built for boys, has a limited but specifically chosen collection of books and series to inspire and engage them.

Experiential Learning

What teaching and learning methods appeal to boys? There are two ways to know things. ‘Knowing about’ and ‘actually knowing’. I ‘know about’ the Queen but I don’t ‘actually know’ her. Boys respond much better when they can ‘actually know’ something rather than just ‘know about’ something. Boys would engage far more in a lesson about tadpoles and frogs if they could first pick up the frogs and put their hands in the tadpoles. Once they have had experience of this (‘actually knowing’) they are far more likely to want to find out more (‘know about’). Boys need experiential learning.


We need to show boys the relevance of what we are asking them to do in school. We need to get them to think big; take them to universities and businesses, show them what’s out there and what they need to do to get there. If we open them up to these possibilities, along with capturing their imagination and providing them with experiential learning, they will start to really succeed. The taste of success will give them the determination and confidence to engage with the things they don’t enjoy and find hard and boring. But they will do so because now they really want to succeed.

Next week’s blog is about what happens outside of school…


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