If you’re worried about the grades your daughter is bringing home, her teacher might be able to help more than you previously thought.
A new study shows female students do better in classes when they are taught by female teachers, Gabriel Fisher reported for Quartz.
Two researchers from Texas A&M analyzed the standardized test scores of South Korean students and noticed that female students “outperform male students by roughly a third of a school year more when taught by female teachers,” researcher Jonathan Meer told Fisher in an email.
This may stem from the general feeling girls have that female teachers encourage equal participation and creative expression.
However, as Meer pointed out, this good news for female students and teachers might not translate into good news for male students, Fisher reported.
“I’m personally deeply worried about male performance in schools,” Meer wrote.
This begs the question, what is happening to male students and how do we make sure they stay motivated, too?
While experts are divided on the different reasons students are disengaged, there are things they suggest doing to help boys stay involved in school.
As psychologist Michael Thompson wrote for PBS, parents need to understand what is keeping students from being engaged and then work with teachers to overcome these issues.
For example, a student might be having difficulties understanding the materials he is learning, and this struggle humiliates him.
“These struggling students need teachers who can make learning fun, and they require the ongoing respect of teachers and their parents in order to stay motivated,” Thompson wrote. “These boys need to hear the old saying, ‘As long as you’re trying your hardest.'”
Still others may simply not like school or want to be there, which poses an entirely new set of issues.
“If your boy is allergic to school in this way, it is going to be a struggle to keep him going until he finishes,” he wrote. “He’ll need teachers who understand and can work with boys who hate school without taking it personally. They have to be willing to modify homework demands and try to see the school environment through a boy’s eyes — if he will let them.”
In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, educator Sean Kullman explained that we need to encourage young boys to follow their educational passions, even if it is not the typically male dominated fields of math and science.
“We must work equally hard to encourage boys to consider literature, journalism and communications. Boys are often pushed toward math and science, and receive inadequate social support. We need to recognize boys’ differences, and their social and developmental needs.”