Confidence is Everything!
Clearly the early experiences of children have a profound impact on their future learning.
Parents and teachers have to walk a very fine line making sure what they place value on is achievable and relevant at that time for the learner. Boys for example, can take longer than girls to gain mastery over the early language links and their fine motor coordination which impacts on their presentation skills. However with appropriate support and advice, these skills can be steadily built without shutting down their thinking, risk taking and all round self-belief.
Generally boys thrive in an up-beat environment with lots of engaging hands-on experiences. They love to create and work across different media moving seamlessly from materials to PC to pen and pencils. Boys and girls have marked differences in their learning styles but what all children clearly require is an education that fits their needs underpinned by the philosophy of promoting quiet confidence.
“Raising Boys” author, Steve Biddulph recommends that the best way to build confidence is to ensure we provide opportunities for boys to do practical ‘useful things’. We need to give our children lots of chances to experience their capabilities structuring the tasks appropriately so they ‘stretch’ the individual but are achievable.
Motivation is significantly higher if they can see the rationale behind a task. Boys like girls need to feel valued and loved but boys tend to respond better in a learning environment that is clear and explicit in its expectations. Often boys who lack confidence can act tough to cover up their anxiety if this structure is not in place. Fundamentally, like all children, boys want to know they are valued and they quickly see through people who ‘talk the talk’ but don’t ‘walk the talk’.
There is no doubt that raising boys can be a challenge for many parents. It appears to me that adults who do best raising boys have significant understanding and appreciation of ‘what makes boys tick’ and books like Bilddulph’s ‘Raising Boys’ add to this understanding.