Why Boys Struggle more than Girls in Elementary School

Elementary school is generally easier for girls than for boys because of their basic natures and thought processes. Boys tend to be more physically active and prefer hands-on learning, whereas young girls are more likely to succeed sitting at a desk, reading, writing and listening for longer periods of time. Once the school day progresses to moving from class to class and involves more spatially oriented subjects, as in middle and high school, boys tend to perform better than girls.

Obviously, these are generalizations and are not always true for the individual. As a teacher for many years, it saddens me to see how schools have lost their goal of creating complex thinkers and have, instead, institutionalized and betrayed our youth. The trouble-maker gets all the attention (usually a boy who is bored out of his mind) and the quiet student confused about a topic (usually a girl during math) gets ignored.

The advanced student needs to be challenged, the physical student needs constructive outlets and the struggling student needs help with the basics. There is no one method of teaching that can satisfy the needs of every learner. The current system of public education, especially in the elementary sector, fails to take into account the truly vast range of normal human behavior.

In the elementary class, recess is too short and infrequent, art and music are neglected, and flexibility in the ways in which curriculum is delivered is severely frowned upon. Teachers are admonished to do the exact same thing year after year, using the same materials, at the same pace, regardless of it ineffectiveness or inappropriateness to their current collection of students. Instead of being encouraged to meet the needs of their students, teachers are required to test, temper and tame our brood in the name of what is currently advantageous to the political powers that be.

Boys need more physical activity. They need more male teachers as role models. They need more hands on learning materials and they need permission to be boys. No eight year old boy worth his salt should be expected to sit still at a desk for hours at a time and do his best.