Book Review: Let’s Hear It From The Boys

Let’s Hear It from the Boys by Gary Wilson

At a glance
  • A ‘How to’ raise boys’ achievement resource from one of the country’s leading experts
  • Packed with insights and thinking from the real-life testimonies and perspectives of boys themselves
  • Confronts head-on a range of relevant teaching, learning and assessment issues
  • Brimming over with acumen, advice and punchy practical strategies for addressing the achievement gap of boys

What do boys really think about school and how can we help them to succeed? That’s the sub-title of Gary Wilson’s new book.

This is a key resource that focuses on the underachievement of boys and what, as change makers, we can do about supporting them.

The first part of the book is devoted to the author’s own experiences as a white, working-class boy and the challenges he faced leaving school without any qualifications but eventually becoming a teacher.

Gary shares some of the techniques he used to get boys’ achievement on a local and national agenda, how we can do the same and how to listen to boys themselves.

Let's Hear It from the Boys: What boys really think about school and how to  help them succeed: Gary Wilson: 9781472974631: Books

Part 2 is the meat of the book and details 15 specific features of secondary schools from the standpoints of boys themselves such as what they think makes a good teacher, what makes a good lesson, seating plans, peer pressure, how teachers talk to boys and girls, punishments, reading, homework and more.

The features Gary explores are the real deal, the nitty-gritty, the things that matter to the boys themselves and how they see the world. In this section we get enormously valuable insights into the lived experience of boys being in school, not what academics think they might be thinking.

The end of the book brings everything together and goes further by challenging us to think about the influences of street culture, social media and mental health.

Let's Hear It from the Boys: What boys really think about school and how to help them succeed: Gary Wilson: 9781472974631: Books

The book is cleverly structured because it provides various pedagogical pits-stops and learning lay-bys to take a few minutes and ponder the issues raised.

There are short quotes from boys the author has spoken to that get us thinking about what happens in our own settings. There are reflective questions dotted throughout to dig and jab our own thinking and how our own teaching might need to change.

There are also action points to complete in school to put ideas into practice as well as longer-term practical exercises. There are no quick fixes or off the peg solutions though because the issues are far too complex for that.

Gary Wilson’s book is a down-to-earth, hard-hitting and honest account of the plight of boys that is caring, compassionate and challenging. It prods and pokes our thinking about how we can raise boys’ achievement and gives us hope that we can make a difference.

Full of hope and energy, this book gets us thinking about the structural relations among engagement, self-efficacy and academic aspirations and how we can change the deficit narrative of low achievement of boys living precarious lives on the margins of school.

The verdict
  • firmly places the needs of boys on the whole-school agenda
  • helps us really get under the bonnet of why boys underachieve and what we can do to break down the barriers and improve their chances
  • promotes a caring masculinity and prompts deeper reflection about gender and education
  • an important resource of solid advice, thought-provoking ideas and proven strategies tailor-made for CPD and sharing widely across the school
  • an asset rich action book to inspire teachers help boys “unclench their hearts”
Upgrade if…

You are looking to bring about change in the achievement of boys in your setting and how to make a significant impact and real difference.

Price:  £16.19

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