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ERIC Number: EJ843466
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0005-3503
Boys Learning Languages
Pavy, Sarah
Babel, v41 n1 p4-11, 38 Jul 2006
In recent years, teachers and schools in Australia have been struggling to keep boys engaged in language programs, especially beyond the years of compulsory language learning. This is a concern not just for Australian educators, as very similar concerns have been raised in other English-speaking countries. The clearest indicator (i.e. the one easiest to measure) of the lack of interest that boys show in learning a language is the low numbers of boys enrolled in language programs in their final years of schooling. Although all students learn at least one language in the early years of high school, once languages become optional, the retention rate of boys is very low in comparison to that of girls, and ranges from 20-40% of the total enrollment, depending on the language. Although more difficult to quantify, a second indicator of boys' lack of interest in language learning is that of disengagement in the years prior to the subject's becoming optional. There is a real need to look in greater depth at what goes on inside the minds of boys in Australian schools as well as what goes on in language classrooms across the country. It is not simply the under-representation of boys in language programs that is of increasing concern; there is also the growing trend of underachievement by boys in this area. This article focuses on what "boys" feel about school and about language learning and how teachers might be able to tune in to what they are telling them in order to reach the boys in their classes and keep them there.
Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61-29351-2022; e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia