As a boys' school we have the unique opportunity to specialize as we teach our target audience. We are able to focus both subject matter and approach to appeal to boys, giving them greater incentive to stay focused and engaged so they are better able to take ownership of their learning. We also recognize that best practices in teaching are really best practices for all students, so why a boys’ school? As a boys’ school, we have responsibilities other than those you might see on the surface.
The male identity is complex, and boys are regularly bombarded with messages about what it means to be a man. How can boys grow up with healthy identities of themselves and healthy perspectives of others?
One of our main responsibilities is to help students understand there is a multitude of ways to be a boy. Boys are different from each other and need to be in a place where those differences are celebrated. As a boys’ school, we are able to facilitate conversations in a safe space to explore the complexity of male identity. We value the Social Emotional Learning aspect of our curriculum, because these lessons put into context and practice the range of emotions, and responses, boys can and should work to understand. Boys flourish when they trust teachers and feel both safe and understood.
We want to develop leadership and good character in our boys, but what kind of leaders do we want them to be? How can they be the generation that changes some of the ways we think about privilege and power?
Our responsibility is to help our students recognize various perspectives and experiences that may be beyond their own as male or boy. With a kindergartner it may be difficult to talk about power dynamics, but we can intentionally include female protagonists in stories and read about heroic female historical figures. For the older students, there are intentional conversations about power and privilege. Students explore and think critically about history from different perspectives, including that of male/female and also oppressor/oppressed and immigrant/native. We challenge boys to ask questions about equity, justice, and inclusion, or the lack thereof. This work encourages boys to think empathically about their own roles within society and within their community and potentially identify ways in which they can improve the world.
As a boys’ school, our responsibilities are to help boys understand themselves and embrace a balance of perspectives, supporting them as they learn about the world beyond school.
Below are some articles on all-boys’ education that you may find helpful: