Education Matters

Are lazy and unmotivated boys a myth?

Posted by Jason Cheers on Dec 14, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Are lazy and unmotivated boys a myth?Many parents have no doubt felt frustrated about their child’s lack of motivation toward their learning. But are lazy and unmotivated boys a myth?

In his book, What’s the Point of School? Professor Guy Claxton suggests that unmotivated boys are a result of interlocking processes and forces which, when aligned in one way, can result in one style of learning, but when lined up in another way, the learning can be very different.

So what are these forces that lead to boys being unmotivated?

  1. He’s interested in X but has competing priorities such as emotions, mental health, self-doubt, family or friendships.
  2. There are distractions that are disrupting concentration, and/or he has difficulty concentrating.
  3. He is not a confident learner – he doubts his efforts and resources will be equal to the learning task.
  4. He believes that if he tries and fails to learn X, he will feel even worse about himself than he already does, so it’s better not to try.
  5. He believes doing well at X conflicts with his image or the values of his social group.
  6. He is not clear about future opportunities and pathways to contextualise his learning of X.

At Trinity Grammar School, Sydney, our pastoral care programme is central to everything we do. We recognise that education is more than the delivery of a curriculum – it’s about developing relationships with students; knowing and connecting with boys’ interests; responding to how boys learn; recognising their willingness for new challenges. In this way, we are able to bring out the best in every boy and challenge the myth of lazy boys.

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Topics: Boys' education