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  • Majid Hussain

Boys vs Girls


I have been teaching at my current school for three years now, teaching both the PYP and MYP curriculum. One of the major changes I had to face to my teaching was the fact that boys and girls were mixed in PE classes.

It has not been a real issue in PYP, as many of the issues do not present themselves and the abilities amongst students have proved to be relevantly equal. However, my MYP classes have been completely different. Last year, was my first year in MYP and I realised there was a real imbalance in the abilities and it was down to the gender. This was a major change, as PE classes in the UK were separate for boys and girls, and the idea of having mixed classes had both their advantages and disadvantages.

I tried for quite a while to make the integration work, however I realised the girls were not progressing as much as they should and this was mainly down to the boys. I really love the idea of boys and girls playing together, using each other's strengths and weaknesses in their performance, and having the awkwardness of secondary school "thrown out of the window." However, what generally happened, was that they boys would not include the girls in any game play, therefore not allowing them to progress. I modified the games and the points, so it would be better to use the girls to score more points, but it still did not yield the results. The girls would just give up and the boys would be frustrated. Obviously, there are some exceptionally talented girls who can match or even do better than the boys, but they are in the minority.

What I did this year was to teach them together in the same class, as that is what was timetabled, but I made sure the groupings were gender based. This meant I had to do more as a teacher, but this allowed me to differentiate and progress groups at different rates, depending on their ability. Over the unit, I saw much better results. The boys and girls progressed very well and when I gave them the opportunity to mix again towards the end of the unit, most of the girls were able to "hold their own." The grade 7-9's actually preferred the segregation, as that is where most of the awkwardness is, however the grade 10's and 11's wanted to mix. For their own progression, I still asked students to practice in their gender groups and I explained to the students the reasons behind my decision. At the end of the unit, it was evident to them that they had progressed much better and they were happy with what they had achieved.

Although, my plan worked and students generally progressed more than they would have in mixed groupings, there is a side of me which feels I missed an opportunity here. Like I mentioned earlier, I really like the idea of boys and girls mixing for PE, but can it really be done?

I would like to hear your thoughts and ideas, surrounding this topic.


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