Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Helping Boys to Ask for Help

CLA fall meeting
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Yesterday, I attended the Cooperative Library Association fall meeting at Gann Academy. Lynn Grilli, Roxbury Latin’s school librarian, and Noel Foy, Roxbury Latin’s learning specialist, presented their findings on getting boys to ask for help. Boys, they said, have many cultural influences that cause them to exhibit help avoidance behaviors. Roxbury Latin’s program has attempted to overcome these behaviors by showing students that seeking help can make them individually stronger, rather than diminishing their personal power. One initiative that they felt had been highly effective was the transformation of their peer-tutoring program to a drop-in area where tutors are always available in a prominent area. This has taken the hidden shame from the act of asking for help and made working collaboratively an open act.

Both presenters stressed that collaboration is the way that college students and professionals are now conducting their lives. Being able to work with others, learning from each other and sharing strengths, is highly valued in today’s society. They suggested that educators would do well to understand that colleges and universities are now asking students to work much more cooperatively than in the past. They also stated that students “don’t know what they don’t know” and that they need to be taught to think about how they learn.

For those of us who wanted to read more they recommended the following books:
The Pressured Child by Michael Thompson
Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds by Richard J. Light
I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real
Strategic Help Seeking: Implications for Learning and Teaching by Stuart A. Karabenick
Teaching the Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel, and Learn in School by Abigail Norfleet James

The presenters also mentioned that they are available to bring their presentation to schools.

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