The Play's the Thing
Teachers.tv link: http://www.teachers.tv/videos/underachieving-boys-the-play-the-thing
At Bexleyheath School in Kent, England, boys underachieve in English class. A school behavior specialist, John Bayley, works with a beginning teacher to help engage boys who typically act up in class and get low grades.
Review the video and analyze the adjustments that the teachers have made to their instructional (and even classroom management) strategies with the boys while they read the play about students taking part in a chaotic field trip. Gauge the level of student engagement, and explain what you think is happening.
What conclusions do you draw from Bayley's interview with boys about whether they perceive a difference between their school performance and that of girls? As you follow the teachers' debate about the boys' awareness of gender differences in classroom work, consider what actions you could take as an educator faced with students who aren't particularly worried about, or otherwise unaware of, their underachievement.
ASCD Express, Vol. 6, No. 4. Copyright 2010 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.