This paper questions the concept of feminisation which has been invoked by some commentators to explain the widely reported difficulties with boys. Its focus is upon primary schooling, and the point is made that a literature dominated by the consider ations of adolescence and secondary schooling has underestimated the degree to which younger boys are socialised into the norms of hegemonic masculinity. Attachment behaviour theory is used as the framework for analysis, and a detailed study of a primary school provides evidence for the central contention that peers, rather than teachers, are the main role models for boys. The discussion is therefore critical of the notion that an increased number of male teachers who will act as role models has any serious purchase in tackling the problems of boys' identity formation. The paper identifies a number of weaknesses in the conceptualisation of 'the problem with boys' and points out the degree to which homophobic and sexualised bullying is a largely unrecognised issue in primary schools. The conclusion is that such issues need to be tackled in the light of an understanding of the significance of peer attachments.
- Sex Education
- Curriculum Studies