The ‘disengaged’ and ‘underachieving’ boy?: Early research findings of how early years practitioners and teachers perceive boys’ attitudes to learning and organise pedagogical approaches

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Boys’ educational underachievement has long been acknowledged as an international concern (Gurian and Stevens, 2005; Weaver-Hightower, 2009; Marshall, 2014). Results from the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) 2013/14 demonstrated that an achievement gap is apparent from an early age (DfE 2014). More recent results from the EYFSP 2016-17 shows this issue continues to be problematic with a 15% achievement gap between boys and girls, with 62% of boys at expected levels of development in comparison to 77% of girls (DfE 2017).
This paper is aimed at examining early research findings of how early years practitioners (EYPs) and teachers plan and organise pedagogical approaches specifically for boys learning in nursery and reception class. Analysis of how EYP’s and teachers perceive boys attitudes to learning is examined. Data generation occurred through semi-structured interviews and observations of interactions and pedagogical approaches in two learning environments; a private day nursery and school in the North of England.
Early analysis of data suggests the EYPs and teachers believe that boys and girls play and learn in different ways. Differences in practice were observed in terms of what was considered ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ play and learning. A combination of the ‘performance pedagogical model’ and ‘competence pedagogical model’, (Bernstein 2000 cited by Neaum 2016: 248) was observed in the school whereas, the ‘competence pedagogical model’ was mostly observed in the private day nursery. Questions over differing approaches and attitudes to how boys learn will be further explored during the paper presentation.
Period22 Nov 2018
Event titleScottish Education Research Association Conference 2018: Critical Understanding of Education Systems: What Matters Internationally?
Event typeConference
LocationGlasgow, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational