The Chicago School’s Struggle to Humanize Transgression
The Impact of Two Strategies
Stiles X. Simmons and Karen M. Feathers
Critical literacy instruction has been offered as a means of improving the historically low reading achievement of African American boys. This study examined the impact of two strategies, disconnections and problem posing, on the critical literacy development of upper elementary African American boys. The boys were engaged in six instructional sessions using the strategies to foster discussion. Transcripts of the boys’ discussions across the sessions demonstrate that the strategies promoted the boys’ engagement in critical discussion, including comparing the text with their own life experiences, considering relationships between characters, and exploring the potential influence of the author’s gender on the story. In a short time period, the boys made substantial progress toward critical literacy.
Boys’ Polarized Perspectives on Reading
This article draws on interview data gathered from a broader study concerned with examining issues associated with boys, masculinities, and reading at school. The focus is on eight boys in Years 5 and 6 who attend schools in a range of socioeconomic communities in Australia. The boys offer polarized perspectives on reading, with four boys reporting positive attitudes toward reading and describing reading books as “fun” and another four boys describing reading books as “boring.” Examined are inflections in these two groups of boys’ experiences as readers at school, making visible the way boys’ attitudes influence engagement with reading. This research moves beyond broad generalizations about boys to consider complexities inherent in notions of masculinity and how different groups of boys internalize their positioning of reading in ways that influence their attitudes, engagement, and subsequently outcomes in reading.
Children’s Literature in Communist Romania
This article provides insight into the practically uncharted territory of children’s literature published during the Communist regime in Romania, with a special emphasis on boys’ roles and masculinity in the context of major themes and obsessions. Its purpose is to reveal both the nonideological side of this literature and the extent to which it might have exerted a decisive influence on education. The conclusion is that the power of nonideological seduction was greater than that of indoctrination.
Theorizing Boys’ Literacies and Boys’ Literatures in Contemporary Times
Garth Stahl and Cynthia Brock
This special issue of Boyhood Studies, entitled “Contemporary Boys’ Literacies and Boys’ Literatures,” is composed of international cutting-edge research focused on boys’ formal and informal literacy practices, boys’ engagements with a variety of texts, as well as gender-focused/gender-critical teaching practices in the literacy classroom. The articles interrogate how boys are positioned and how they position themselves within their acquisition of literacy skills. The research presented highlights the diversity and complexity of boys’ literacy practices. The scholars contend that how we define literacy is undergoing change alongside significant alterations to traditional cultural practices associated with boyhood. We see attention drawn to how these literacy practices operate in relation to the formation of boys’ masculinities in terms of how they do boyhood in contemporary times.
Beyond the Boy Crisis and into Superhero Fiction
Michael Kehler and Jacob Cassidy
Drawing on qualitative data of secondary school students, we examine how gender is implicated in a specific provincial literacy directive to employ comics and superhero fiction to engage boys. Grounded in a multiliteracies and masculinities framework, we interrogate the intersection of gender and literacy practices in a secondary school English classroom. The research in this article offers a counternarrative to a prevailing discourse grounded in essentialist notions of all boys as struggling readers and instead illustrates the rich potential between students’ lifeworld connections and comics as engaging and critical literacy texts beyond the “boy book” approach adopted in many literacy classrooms. We further argue that a sharper focus on critical literacy pedagogy, which incorporates comics and superhero fiction, reveals an invisibility of gender differences among adolescent reading practices rather than the visibility that has prompted and maintained gendered reform strategies to “help the boys” increase achievement levels in literacy classrooms.
Tracking of and Teaching through the On-Field Language Practices of Australian Indigenous Boys
David Caldwell, Nayia Cominos, and Katie Gloede
This article addresses the lack of research into boys’ on-field language practices in sport and the potential to integrate this as text into the multiliteracy classroom. We recount the findings of a small-scale pilot project—“Real Language in Real Time”—which applied innovative audiodigital recording technology to the context of Indigenous Australian boys participating in Australian rules football. We review the relevant literature across a range of intersecting areas: boys and literacy in relation to construal of masculinity, Aboriginal boys and sport, Aboriginal literacy more generally, and sociometrics. The next sections describe the research question, project context, the innovative technology used to collect the on-field data in real time, and the principles informing the analysis, with examples from one of the literacy resources developed. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of this novel study, with specific reference to the project’s potential construal of a homogenous masculine discourse.
Adolescent Boys’ Religious Literacy Practices
Deborah Vriend Van Duinen
Many adolescent boys identify, in some way or the other, as being religious. Despite this, the religious literacy practices of adolescent boys has been underresearched in the field of adolescent literacy studies. Drawing on concept of literacy sponsorship and on sociocultural perspectives of literacy, I analyze the ways in which religious institutions sponsor boys’ literacy practices. Using data from a qualitative in-depth interview study with 11 adolescent boys, I explore the texts, participants, contexts, functions, and motivations surrounding boys’ religious literacy practices and argue that religious institutions sponsor particular and different ways of being religious adolescent boys and that this in turn influences adolescent boys’ literate lives.
The 1961 Withdrawal from the Ontario Hockey Association by the St. Michael’s Majors
This article examines the 1961 withdrawal by St. Michael’s College School’s hockey team from the semi-professional Canadian junior hockey league, the Ontario Hockey Association. The long-playing schedule, the heavy burden of the physical labor, and the emphasis on athletics over academics were all factors that led to the high school’s withdrawing of its team. St. Michael’s College’s experience was an early expression of concern about the exploitation of young athletes, concern that has now become increasingly shared publicly around the globe. The limited success of St. Michael’s College’s campaign for change lay in the difficulty of convincing society of this exploitation. The school’s withdrawal highlights the entrenched problem of institutions treating young male athletes as commodities.