The Battle of Hastings: boys and hands-on learning

19 November 2020


At Caldicott a lesson rarely involves sitting still in a classroom, working from text heavy resources. While this is important, especially for our older boys preparing for entrance exams and academic scholarships, it is not a method that should be solely relied on. The fact is, there are a great deal of scientific papers showing the biological differences between the brains of boys and girls which, as you would expect, fundamentally affect the way they learn, develop, and behave. Ignoring this fact can be unfair to boys working within a method of learning that does not necessarily suit them and can be a serious disadvantage. Boys can be labelled unfairly as ‘failing’ or being ‘difficult’ which can lead to self-doubt.

If you have both boys and girls at home, you will know that you can’t simply paint them with the same brush; their needs can differ widely. We consider ourselves very lucky at Caldicott that we can focus all our resources on ensuring that every aspect of our school is designed in a way that gives our boys the best chance to realise their full potential. Educational research has identified certain needs more specific to boys than girls, including the necessity for: physical activity, more space and kinaesthetic (hands-on) learning.

We offer our boys all of this at Caldicott and have shaped the way our school works around these principles, from the space we offer our boys to run around in, to the creative approach to practical lessons that are taught on a daily basis. A recent example of a kinaesthetic lesson in practice is highlighted below; our 4th Formers were learning about the Battle of Hastings and our Head of History, Mr Legge, thought the best way to really help them remember what happened was by staging a mini-battle allowing the boys to experience the events first-hand! Some lasting memories were definitely formed and the boys are now more than familiar with the causes of Harold’s defeat.

At the end of the day, being able to focus on ‘boys only education’ is a huge advantage and can ultimately be a deciding factor in whether your son can fulfil his potential and realise his ambitions. Let boys be boys!

Watch the battle here

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