Teachers separate boys and girls to improve marks
At Glenmerry Elementary School in Trail, B.C., there's something missing in some classes.
In order to combat a disturbing trend showing that boys aren't doing as well in school, teachers started same sex classes six years ago.
"We noticed in October that the boys' grades were not that high academically," said grade seven teacher Heather Mcquiggan. "We did some research into same sex classes and the results and we decided we would like to try it at our school."
The boys' marks improved, so the program stayed in place. Both boys and girls are giving it the thumbs up.
"My marks have been going up a lot since I've been in this class," said grade seven student Dakota. "I got grounded last year because my marks were so bad."
His classmate Chris agrees. "My marks went up because I feel more comfortable," he said.
It's the kind of strategy that is attracting attention even in Toronto -- there, the school district superintendent is promising to create an all-boys public school in the fall.
Other educators aren't convinced that segregating the classes is the solution.
Joanne Carlton teaches at Richard McBride in Vancouver. She's been a teacher for 31 years, and she's passionate about using technology.
She uses a smart board that's connected to a computer, and that allows students to interact with the screen.
"They use it all the time," she said. "They love to be up there touching it."
She is also in daily contact with her students on-line. It's called Moodling -- a program that allows teachers to give their assignments online, and give feedback to each student immediately.
The teachers have found it's great to engage boys.
"I've had some boys who have not completed assignments all year," says Carlton. "They get on it and they do their assignments."
Parents can also go to the site.
Another great way to get results, according to teachers, is to get more exercise.
An alternative program called Take a Hike has rescued many struggling boys. At least once a week the students go on a field trip that involves a good workout.
"To sit down and focus is more difficult for boys," says Klaus Klein, a counsellor there.
"Boys are just as smart but sometimes their bodies are saying, ‘Move around,' and if you don't get a lot of exercise, a whole lot of energy is pent up," he says.
One student, Gulzaar Randhawa, says he's gone from failing to the honour roll.
"It's awesome," he said. "I've completely turned my life around."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee