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  Boys' attitudes to work
Updated 11 July 2003, 11.19

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Study and careers

A new report says that showing off at school is stopping boys doing well in their lessons.

This lesson challenges the notion of studying hard being uncool.

Learning aims

  • What are students' images of manliness?

  • What represents success for students?

  • Can doing schoolwork help you be manly?

1) Icebreaker
Read the story

Give a list of celebrities marks out of ten for manliness, below are some possible candidates - dilute or embellish as appropriate.

  • David Beckham - family man
  • Roy Keane - hard man
  • 2Pac Shakur - rapper shot by jealous husband
  • Puff Daddy - rapper dumped by J Lopez
  • Lizo -real Newsround presenter
  • Ali G -spoof MTV awards presenter
  • Tony Blair - makes tough decisions
  • John Prescott - throws tough punches
  • Lennox Lewis - boxer
  • Mike Tyson - boxer / convicted of rape
  • Jamie Oliver - TV Chef
  • Ainsley Harriot - larger but poorer TV chef
  • Osama Bin Laden - attacked New York
  • George W Bush - cried on TV after attacks
  • Michael Barrymore - gay / addiction
  • Graham Norton - gay
  • Chris Tarrant - hardworking millionaire
  • Anne Robinson - if toughness is manly where does she fit in?

2) Main activity

Where do you want to get to? How will you get there? On a sheet of A4/A3 in landscape students draw these images.

Where you are now?
At the left hand side of the paper put a drawing or photo of where you are now

Where do you want to get to?
On the right hand side put a drawing of themselves at the age of 30, around them draw or glue images of the house they live in, the car they drive, their family if they want one.

How will you get there?
Students draw bold lines from their current image to each of the images on the right of the page. Beside each line they must write or cartoon an explanation of how they will afford the object or maintain the relationship they desire.

No-one is allowed to win the lottery or rob a bank. Prospective pop stars and Premiership footballers must outline in detail the training they will undertake, the networking they will do and how they will respond to injuries and setbacks.

3) Extension activity
Pick the five things they most want to achieve in the next year and make up a page for each with an image of the objective at the top, a description of how they will achieve it underneath and a signature to prove they are serious about trying to achieve it.

4) Plenary
The recent academic research found the idea that working was not manly was much less common in fee-paying schools. Why do students think this is?

Teachers' Background

The research paper 'Young Masculinities' drew the following conclusions about boys attitudes:

  • Working is not manly, it will not win you respect

  • Arguing with teachers is a good way to impress your friends

  • At private schools students were not embarrassed to be seen to be working hard

More InfoBORDER=0
What's happening to school subjects?
UKBoys need to realise 'school is cool'
UKWorking hard isn't macho
ChatKids' Chat: Why are girls doing better?



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