Questions about boys and schooling are not new. From issues related to nationhood and empire, to literacy and achievement, there is a rich history of political debate, and educational research around boys and schooling. Interest in boys’ education reached a height in the early 2000s with the ‘boys turn’ in education policy and research. More recently there is renewed interest in gendered discourses and practices in schooling related to concerns about ‘toxic masculinities’, gendered violence, and consent education.
For boys’ only schooling, this presents particular challenges in an environment where media investigations and headlines include examples of ‘boys behaving badly’ from some of the country’s most prestigious boys’ only schools. For co-educational schools gender relations are also an important issue, as teachers and school leaders grapple with how to educate boys to take up healthy masculinities that avoid harm to themselves and others, and to navigate the challenges and changes of life in the 21st century.
This symposium brings together researchers, teachers and school leaders to discuss current challenges associated with boys and schooling and identify possible directions for future educational research and practice. It will showcase current research findings by Australian scholars investigating masculinities and gender relations in schooling and provide an avenue for schools to present their successes, challenges, and questions related to boys and schooling.
Possible topics for discussion include but are not limited to:
- Gender, sexualities and consent issues in schooling
- LGBTIQA issues in boys’ only, or co-educational schooling
- Boys’ only schooling: challenges and goals for educators and school leaders
- Historical perspectives on boys and education
- Gender and curriculum
- Teachers and gender issues in boys’ only or co-educational schooling
Elizabeth Little is a secondary school English teacher and is passionate about literature education and the teens who read Young Adult Literature. Her PhD project examined Young Adult fantasy texts and the girls who read them. Elizabeth is currently researching masculinities in the senior literature curriculum, and how senior literature teachers and students use fiction to configure and negotiate meanings of masculinity in the contemporary world. She has published works related to English education and Young Adult literature.
Dr Claire Charles is a senior lecturer in the School of Education at Deakin University. As a sociologist of education her research examines how education operates as a key site where injustices related to gender/sexualities, race and class might be both reinforced and challenged. She is currently researching generational change in the gendered curriculum of elite private boys’ schools. Claire is a member of Deakin University’s Strategic Research and Innovation Centre – Research for Educational Impact (REDI). Her book, Elite girls’ schooling, social class and sexualised popular culture was published by Routlege in 2014.
We are currently seeking school leaders and teachers who are interested in sharing their successes, challenges and questions related to boys’ education. If you’re interested in being involved please contact Dr Claire Charles.
This research has been funded by the Australian Association for Teaching English.