When I started paying my teenage son a tenner for every book he reads this summer, I stumbled upon a formula for success. Now that I’m hearing how the Leaving Cert will be letting students take some of their fifth year written English and Irish tests, I’m so relieved I’ve taken radical action.
the feeling that now that he has turned over the page with his reading, he will be finished in three years’ time when he starts his English work 1 .
Like many boys, he’d rather immerse himself in video games than a novel, but with the introduction of a cash incentive, he flies through them.
Education experts will certainly frown upon such a greedy approach, but they will be quick to affirm that literacy is the foundation of all other learning. So when boys aren’t good readers, their other subjects suffer as well.
I can justify paying for the reading (I hope he ends up loving it and not having to get paid) because I think boys need a head start when it comes to schoolwork.
The Leaving Cert results will be released tomorrow and I can already see the headlines confirming that girls are outperforming boys in the vast majority of subjects, as has been the case for decades. That was the case when I left in 1996, and it’s only getting worse.
I’m sure many parents think I have to resort to bribery. It’s too important a life skill to screw up. I wish I had paid him years ago.
Before the pandemic, female students outperformed males by 5.7 percent, 5.9 percent, and 6.5 percent in 2017, 2018, and 2019; then, when the results were estimated, a gap of 7.9 percent was found in 2020 and 7.7 percent last year.
It will be interesting to see what happens this year after so many disruptions.
Isn’t that very awesome? Wouldn’t there be a lot of drama if the girls were so behind?
The ramifications meander into the college. Young men with low Leaving Cert scores are at high risk of dropping out. Overall, women achieve better results, with 81 percent completing their college course compared to 70 percent of men.
This is not unique to Ireland. The book 2015 The Boy Crisis says boys around the world are 50 percent less likely than girls to achieve basic reading, math and science.
Various reasons are given in this book, ranging from a crisis of meaning for boys to a lack of role models. I would say from my own experience with one girl and three boys that girls mature so much faster and video games contribute to boys not being as good readers. But all experts agree that a good reader facilitates learning across the board.
For Ireland, the most recent OECD program for international student assessment (PISA) found that teenagers are good readers here, but girls do ‘significantly’ better than boys, with boys spending longer in the virtual world on school evenings.
There will be boys who will devour books willingly—my nephew is one of them—but I’m sure many parents can relate to my resorting to bribery. It’s too important a life skill to screw up. I wish I had paid him years ago.
Being a reader is such a gift; You can escape your world if it annoys you.
The house collapses with books. I’d been busy slogging into the library to curate interesting reading material, but nothing was working.
But now, when my nearly 14-year-old wants a JD Sports t-shirt or a movie trip, he knows what to do. A new haircut? That costs a John Grisham. A Big Mac? This will set him back half a Freddie Forsyth novel.
In the beginning he was handed books and I was thrilled when he started asking authors. Being a reader is such a gift; You can escape your world if it annoys you. Aside from him doing better in school, I really want him to have that appreciation, so I’m willing to fund the process.
But what happens when you don’t have pushy parents forcing their kids? The World Bank released a report on men’s underachievement in academia in February, which found that while poverty makes you more likely to underperform academically, it was even more evident for disadvantaged men.
Equality does not happen by accident. There will have to be changes if we are to organize our school system in such a way that boys achieve the same achievements as girls. Maybe we should consider physical education as a leaving cert subject?
The introduction of the English and Irish Paper 1 in Year 5 is an attempt to ease the pressure on students and that is necessary, but I am not sure this is the right way to go.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that some education officials were opposed, as they feared boys would be thrown back further given their level of maturity, and expressed a concern that keeping papers apart for too long could result in poor performance due to differences between males and females. Not good, considering the gap there.
When we talk about the equality debate, we often talk about the fact that women remain underrepresented in the highest echelons of large companies (easy to solve: just make any demanding job a job share, as women don’t want to sacrifice their lives for work). But we should talk more about the fact that boys do less well in school and are more likely to be suspended or expelled.
They’re also more likely to drift: Eurostat data from last year showed that 12 percent of young men aged 20 to 24 were neither in employment nor in education or training. For women it was 9.4 percent.
Why are Irish prisons mostly men? And why are more men dying on the road, through suicide, in accidents at work? You die earlier, period.
I can pay for my son to read, but many boys have no support at home. A good leaving cert can set you on the right path in life, so we need to look at why boys are losing out.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/novel-approach-to-persuading-my-son-to-read-books-may-be-questionable-but-it-works-41952116.html A novel approach to getting my son to read books may be questionable, but it works