There is a growing concern about the education of boys today. They endure the perception that not only are they worse behaved in class when compared to girls, but also that they lack the organizational skills to succeed. Studies show that girls do score higher on academic testing than boys and there seems to be one attributing factor – boys just don’t read.
Why do boys read less? There are lots of socialogical reasons – some of which have to do with identity but also with interests. In fact, a website, GuysRead.com, has taken on this problem by positioning itself as being a “web-based literacy program for boys”.
What is their solution? Their claim is that boys will read if their readings interest them. Seems like an obvious notion.
Girls tend to be better behaved and better organized than boys – any teacher can make that simple observation. That doesn’t mean that boys cannot learn or progress in their studies like girls, it just requires some different approaches. This is where differentiation comes in.
For a language like Latin, comprehension should remain the focus allowing all students the opportunity to learn the language. Latin, however, lends itself to a wide range of topics – much of which could interest boys. From mythology to heroes, to stories about warfare, Latin could offer a way to draw in interest from all students, in particularly boys. This would also make them better readers as well as give them training on language acquisition around a subject that could interest them.
As Latin teachers, our role is to make our language fun and accessible for everyone; we want as many students exploring the language as possible. We want to revitalize the Classics, especially through the learning of Latin – which is a cornerstone for not only studying the Classics, but also an essential part of western civilization.