A boys only schooling offers many educational advantages. The school can focus on offering an engaging curriculum, specifically developed and tailored for the ways boys think and learn. This then helps boys to build their confidence and pride in their abilities, and to thrive academically.
At Christian Brothers College, we aim to provide an educational foundation for boys to live out the values of Faith, Excellence, Community and Compassion. Learning can be differentiated and individualised to allow each boy the best opportunity to achieve their ultimate potential. In an all-boys environment, boys are free to be themselves without the fear of embarrassment if they make a mistake. They can take safe risks in a supportive and caring environment.
Supporting the Needs of Boys
Boys mature later than girls and are affected by different issues as they reach adulthood. Therefore it’s important to recognise that a single gender environment can allow boys to learn and grow at their own pace without fear. Social distractions and pressures are reduced, allowing boys to learn and discover new things on a deeper level.
As boys reach adolescence, they are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour compared with girls. CBC’s long tradition of boys only education provides the experience and knowledge to enable our boys to achieve their best as they navigate into manhood.
CBC’s curriculum is specifically tailored to suit boys with a broad range of academic choices, including performing arts and a wide ranging co-curricular program. Understanding that boys learn differently to girls, the college conducts lessons, implement leading teaching practices and has a program that best suits their needs.
In an all-boys environment, boys are free to pursue interests in music, creative and performing arts without the preconceived notions of masculinity and femininity. Being able to explore all learning opportunities is foundational to a well-rounded person.
Notable old scholars from CBC include the 2017 Young Australian of the Year and founder of Paolo Sebastian, Paul Vasileff, who is now recognised as one of Australia’s best fashion designers, and Ben Baker who has photographed celebrities and US Presidents.
How CBC Educates Boys
In an all-boys Reception-Year 12 environment, particular strategies can be developed to assist boys in their learning. This is supported by neuroscience research and such strategies can include:
- Understanding the emotional and behavioural needs of boys and appreciating the difference in decision making between boys and girls is important for their development.
- Demonstrating respect and developing positive, supportive relationships. Research shows that boys need to develop quality relationships with their teachers in order to achieve their best. Teachers are engaged with students by moving around the classroom.
- The integration of learning technologies to help engage boys with their learning. The relevance of what they are learning is particularly important to boys and the curriculum must evolve to reflect the changing academic, career and trade opportunities.
- Establishing clear boundaries for boys as boys tend to relate to hierarchy. A sense of place and community is important in developing a boy’s identity.
- Writing can be a problem for some boys. Encouraging them to talk through their projects first or use note-taking can be beneficial. Literacy improvement through the ‘How Language Works’ program at the college seeks to assist students who are struggling in this area.
- Boys respond best to shorter more intense learning time with lessons times structured to provide this. Quiet times for study and reflection is also important.
- Allowing opportunities for boys to succeed and celebrating these. Evidence suggests that boys need praise more than girls do to stay on-task and achieve good results. Good teachers have a large range of words they can use so that boys can be praised meaningfully and though the annual Speech Night Awards our boys are acknowledged.
- Acknowledging that boys generally learn through doing-thinking-talking rather than simply copying from a worksheet or off the board.
- Educational spaces are designed to optimise learning for boys and are bright, light-filled and spacious, technologically enriched with breakout areas and have furniture which promote both collaborative and individual learning.
Past NAPLAN results generally across most age groups throughout Australia indicate that girls are stronger in areas of Literacy (Reading and Writing) as compared with boys. This provides an opportunity to particularly focus on how boys learn best in areas of Literacy. Boys have generally performed better in areas of Numeracy so the curriculum can also be focused on developing their strengths and addressing their literacy needs.
As part of promoting positive wellbeing, an all-boys environment can offer specialised sporting programs, along with an extensive range of music, debating, drama and co-curricular opportunities.
Boys thrive on competition and students at Christian Brothers College eagerly compete against sister schools throughout the year including the annual Intercol. Healthy competition promotes strong bonds of friendship and teamwork between boys, an opportunity for boys to succeed and which celebrates a tradition and a rite of passage. In providing these opportunities for success, it is also possible to offer supervised social, cultural and academic activities with sister schools.
There are many benefits for boys in a single gender educational environment. With a wide range of opportunities the needs of students are met to ensure that they can achieve their full potential, spiritually, academically, emotionally, socially and physically.
What About Interaction With Girls?
An important part of any boys’ development is his ability to interact with girls. CBC has long established programs with several girls’ schools including St Aloysious College and St Mary’s College. Middle School students participate in Socials and arranged dance lessons whilst our Senior boys engage in combined pilgrimages and sports competitions with the other schools.