When Boys Struggle

Submitted By:
Perry Eaton, EdM Candidate, Klingenstein Center, Teachers College Columbia University, New York, NY

Boys Don't Try? Rethinking Masculinity in Schools by Matt Pinkett and Mark Roberts
Routledge, January 1, 2019

The heart of Boys Don't Try? lies in redefining masculinity in schools to foster a culture in which all gender identities can perform to their potential. Authors Matt Pinkett and Mark Roberts examine roadblocks that plague adolescent males, stating the belief that "when boys struggle educationally, it also has a direct, adverse effect on girls." The text also challenges common myths, including the assumption that competition is a healthy engagement tool, that hormones cause bad behavior, and that avoidance of hard work is based on incapability, clarifying instead that "through not trying their hardest, pupils avoid injury to their perception of self." In response to these challenges, Boys Don't Try? offers solutions, paired with relevant anecdotes and research, that range from institutional work to actionable tips designed to gradually impact cultural change from within the classroom. By providing practical recommendations for rethinking the ways that we normalize gender values, the chapters serve as a roadmap toward helping male students maximize their academic selves. Boys Don't Try? ultimately warns that the sexual maturity, academic confidence, and mental wellbeing of all students is at stake if male-specific education isn't reimagined.

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