Helping boys learn

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In the Chignecto Central Regional School Board Strategic Plan it is noted that Goal One is to “Increase Student Learning” with one of the areas of focus being instruction and assessment practices. The action plan for this includes “Professional learning in effective, research-based motivation, instruction and assessment practices for male and male-like learners will be provided.”

One thing we know for sure is that boys and girls learn differently. CCRSB recognizes this and is doing something in support of boys learning. The board launched a three-year commitment to the Canadian Boys Learning Project which addresses the critical issue of boys’ disengagement from learning in school. As Gary Clarke, Superintendent of CCRSB, wrote in his November monthly report to the board: “Through this initiative, education in CCRSB will have access to user-friendly information, resources and professional learning opportunities that will help them involve and inspire the boys in their classroom. All educators have also been provided a copy of Dr. Dixon’s book ‘Helping Boys Learn.’”

Superintendent Clarke continues: “The materials and approach promoted within this project are based on six pathways to effective learning in boys identified by Dr. Dixon: Movement, Humour, Game, Challenge, Mastery, and Meaning. Educators in CCRSB will begin this work focusing on Movement. In addition to identifying these six pathways, he shows educators how to use them in connection with learning – particularly in the classroom. CCRSB has three initial goals for our involvement in the Canadian Boys Learning Project:

1.  All educators enhance their understanding of why and how boys learn differently.

2.  All educators learn and apply some new effective teaching strategies to motivate and engage our boys so that they are able to reach their potential.

 3.  We are better able to support our parents in supporting boys at home.”       

We should applaud the efforts of Superintendent Clarke and the Director of Education Scott Milner in their leadership to bring life and meaning to the goals in the Board’s Strategic Plan “Increase Student Learning.” This focus on boys learning should prove to be a big help as educators and parents learn more about what drives boys to succeed.


An education advocate, Ron Marks has been an outspoken member of local and regional school boards and a former Stellarton mayor. His column runs weekly.

Organizations: Chignecto Central Regional School Board Strategic Plan

Geographic location: Stellarton

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