“They are designed in every way to respond to their needs, to harness their potential and to guide them along the journey towards full and responsible manhood,” he says.
According to Adams, great schools for boys start with how boys learn. “Good teachers in these schools have always plied their craft with intuitive good sense and wise observation about what ‘works’ to engage boys,” he says. Schools for boys teach to the ways boys learn best, with a strong competitive and active component. They are also savvy in deploying approaches that lift achievement in reading and writing—where many boys struggle.
Exposure to the arts
Everyone knows that boys’ schools are great places for sports, with topnotch facilities and programs, but Adams points out that the first stop on a tour of a thriving school for boys is often the new fine arts studio, theatre, the design and technology facility or the music rehearsal and performance spaces. Schools for boys can be highly effective in encouraging them to explore these areas.
He says that there is also evidence that students in schools for boys are more likely to explore subjects that might be considered “unmasculine” and to pursue a broader range of disciplines and vocations thereafter.
“The distinct advantage of an all-boys’ learning environment means that boys routinely and naturally rise to tasks that girls might otherwise do,” he says.
“Boys lead in every aspect of classroom discussion and participation and show a wider, more complete range of engagement and thought than might be the case in a coed environment.”
Growing up can be difficult for boys who can pick up the message that emotional connectedness and expression are unmanly: better to hide behind that tough-skinned exterior. This leaves many boys vulnerable and alone, often without support and skill and, in many cases, unable to express their feelings.
That’s where boys’ schools come in. Boys’ schools provide an empathy-building environment with staff that is well able to respond to their needs, Adams says.
Tackling issues head-on
“Medical research from around the world is consistent: men—and boys—are not very good at taking care of themselves,” Adams says. “They are more likely than girls to engage in high-risk activities, abuse substances and commit violence. Far more boys than girls are diagnosed with learning disabilities and medicated.”
These issues are tackled head-on at boys’ schools, which aim to keep students active, fit and engaged and provide support and counselling according to Adams. Boys’ schools are able to tackle the toughest issues in assemblies and in the curriculum.
The business of boyhood
While setting clear and firm boundaries and expectations, schools for boys are wise about the business of boyhood. “Educators in schools for boys champion them as rich in potential to achieve,” says Adams.