Empirical study of boys' school and boys' motivation

Year: 2002

Author: Vallance, Roger

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

An empirical study was commenced in 2002 to investigate what works in the education of adolescent boys. The research is being conducted in collaboration with the staff of a secondary boys' school in metropolitan Perth. The paper will report work in progress.

The research project is investigating classroom practices that are suggested to be helpful to boys' learning. A rich data source is being developed which includes surveys; non-participant, structured observations; and focus groups developing qualitative data. The focus groups are being conducted with parents, staff and groups of students.

Several instruments have been developed for this study. In particular, the student (i.e. boy's) motivation survey instrument extends earlier work to concentrate on the self-perceptions of 13 to 15 year old boys [Yrs 8 and 9 in Western Australian schools]to report motivational factors regarding their school work and approach to study. Staff and parent focus group interviews develop a range of opinions and practices considered relevant and useful in boys' education which can be contrasted to the boys' reported experiences. The student interviews conducted target boys' experiences in classrooms, their academic aspirations and reported coping mechanisms to give a rich sense of the adolescent male's experiences of single sex education.