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Book Review: 'Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies that Work and Why'
For boys, adolescence is the most difficult period of life but schools are often insensitive towards this transitional period from childhood to adulthood. Many well-meaning educators feel that there is something wrong with boys' education at middle school level in most countries.

The book "Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys : Strategies That Work and Why" challenges the widely-held cultural impression that boys are stubbornly resistant to schooling while they themselves shun providing concrete examples of pedagogy and instructional styles that have proven effective in a variety of school settings for boys.

Authored by Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley, two researchers and educators, the book draws on the evidences and support from an in-depth study to reveal what lessons and strategies must engage boys in the classroom meaningfully at middle and high school levels. With practical suggestions and doable activities, the book fills the methodical gaps for the better education of boys and is useful for teachers working in middle and high school levels.

According to the authors of the book, worldwide, boys are diagnosed with learning disorders and attention problems at nearly four times the rate of girls. They do less homework and get a greater proportion of the low grades. Furthermore, boys are nearly three times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

Published by Jossey-Bass, the book holds that most teachers have grown accustomed and got conditioned to the traditional lecture model or non-interactive presentation through new technology. Teachers use their own energies in a futile way to superficially create orderly classrooms made up of ruler-straight rows of compliant students. But unless teachers stop to consider whether these traditional methods are working for boys, we will continue to give boys the short end of the educational stick.

The book provides over 100 examples of lessons that succeed with boys when strategies like gaming, motor activities, open inquiry, competition, interactive technology, and performance/role play are used for transacting lessons. Further the book also explains the psychological dimensions of adolescent boys and incorporates them in the methods as human dimension grows up.

Drawing on the experiences of practicing teachers and scientific study, the book has revealed that there are eight categories of instruction that succeed in teaching boys. The most effective lessons by teachers to teach effectively the boys included more than one of following elements like students’ work leading to a knowledge or physical product; use of structured educational game; incorporation of kinesthetic and hands-on experience; use of problem solving through lead questions; group or team work with responsibilities; teaching others or peer tutoring; personal discovery; and dramatization.

The authors urge educators that they should strive to teach adolescent boys by acknowledging, rather than dismissing their particular and distinctive psychological and educational needs

The book is a valuable source book for teachers who want to teach meaningfully and effectively. The end products of students can be peer-reviewed with suggestions. The authors are of the view, instead of controlling boys through punishment and penalizing their' relatively higher energy and achievement motive and drive, the most effective way to teach them is to take advantage of that high energy, curiosity, and thirst for achievement.

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