A framework for ‘best practice’ in boys’ education: key requisite knowledges and Productive Pedagogies

Amanda Keddie
Faculty of Education
University of Southern Queensland


In enhancing the social and academic outcomes of boys, positive teacher-student relationships and quality pedagogy that is informed by key research-based understandings and knowledges about gender are positioned as central. The managerial rather than pedagogical focus currently characterizing Queensland (Australia) schools, where the acquisition of basic skills are seen as more important than students‟ intellectual engagement, can be seen as constraining boys‟ academic and social development. In examining what might constitute „best practice‟ in boys‟ education, this paper draws on significant socio-cultural research in the area of gender, masculinity and schooling to define the key understandings and knowledges seen as necessary for teachers to effectively construct and apply contextually driven pedagogic strategies to improve educational and social outcomes. The Productive Pedagogies framework of quality
teaching and learning (The State of Queensland, 2001) is presented as potentially generative in this regard. This framework is presented here as a way forward for teachers in moving beyond the „common sense‟ and prescriptive approaches that continue to drive much of the curriculum and pedagogy in our schools and more specifically many of the programs designed to address the educational needs of boys. In drawing on understandings of gender inequities as a product of social practice, the paper illuminates how teachers can adopt the Productive Pedagogies framework in connecting with boys in intellectually engaging ways to explore their understandings of gender and masculinity and broaden their appreciation of difference and diversity.