Summit on 'Understanding and Teaching Boys' 

MIAMI: 6-8 July, 2017
Facilitator: Michael Thompson

View schedule, location and fee details

Boys often challenge the rules of schools and the operating assumptions of teachers.  At times, it can look as if some boys are dedicated to defeating the purpose of school.  As a group, they underachieve academically in comparison to girls; they are less attentive to homework than girls; three-quarters of suspensions and expulsions from schools are boys. They can appear under-motivated, vulgar and defiant.  It is difficult for any teacher desiring order in his or her classroom not to wish, from time to time, that boys were a bit more like the girls.  But boys aren’t girls and boy psychology is different from girl psychology in ways that are important to understand.  

The purpose of the summit is to explore the psychology, biology and neurology of boys at every developmental level and to tie an understanding of boy psychology to best teaching practices for boys in the classroom.   The seminar will examine the following questions:

  • What are the important brain differences between the genders?
  • What are the biological and neurological vulnerabilities of boys?
  • What is the role of testosterone in aggressive behaviors?
  • Why are boys so active and how should schools manage their activity levels?
  • What does the culture of masculinity require of little boys?
  • How do boys react to learning problems and other frustrations in elementary school?
  • Why are so many boys obsessed with athletics and physical size?  Is there any way to counter those trends?
  • Why do so many boys have a “minimalist” strategy for completing work?
  • Why is there a “culture of cruelty” among middle school boys?  How should a school address issues of safety and bullying among boys?
  • Why don’t boys talk more?  Why are boys so reluctant to reveal their feelings?  Why are adolescent boys particularly hard to reach?
  • What are best practices for boys in the classroom at every level?

The summit will draw on many sources of research, but in the main it will rely on Dr. Thompson’s books, Raising Cain, It’s a Boy! and Speaking of Boys, as well as the work of Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley, Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys, and I Can Learn From You: Boys as Relational Learners.  We will also see many film clips that illustrate the different developmental levels of boys, particularly from Dr. Thompson’s PBS documentary Raising Cain.

This course can be taken as part of the following certificates:
CTC or TTC certificate:  one full course
PTC certificate : one half course
Graduate credit is not available