IBSC Action Research Findings

Each year, IBSC identifies a theme and invites teachers and administrators to collaborate to investigate teaching strategies to improve best practices in educating boys.

IBSC Action Research reports and posters by year are listed below:

In July at the 2018 IBSC Annual Conference in Gold Cost, Queensland, Australia, IBSC action researchers present research on Adaptability in a Changing World.

You may sort research projects by theme, year, researcher, school, or country.

IBSC Action Research Reports

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Key And Essential Questions: Fostering Empathy In Grade 6 Boys  Through Multiple Perspectives, Gord Wotherspoon, Crescent School, Toronto, Canada

The boys demonstrated several areas of growth through the use of key and essential questions. Their ability to formulate questions that enabled them to delve deeper into an article became evident. Their comprehension of issues heightened every time they read a new article. With added opportunities to discuss and debate their thoughts and findings, the boys demonstrated increasing ability to empathize with differing viewpoints. Some students began applying their questioning techniques to other subjects, which got them to begin to see multiple perspectives in many different content areas.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Fostering Transformational Thinking In Year 11 Boys  Through Service-Learning, Michael Waugh, Scotch College, Melbourne, Australia

Upon reflecting with the participants, the boys seemed significantly impacted by the program. Boys shared increased insights and a sophisticated appreciation of cultural differences and poverty. The intervention seemed to help increase boys’ confidence and improve their communication skills. They were particularly conscious of travelling through Cambodia as “guest” and respecting the “innate dignity” of others. The experience impacted the boys’ self-awareness, emotional literacy, and seemed to deepen boys’ relationships with others.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Encouraging Adaptability In Grade 5 Boys Through S.T.E.M Gardening, Ashley Waggoner, Selwyn House School, Montreal, Canada

All boys mentioned that, in various ways, they needed to be adaptable due to the nature of gardening and partner work. Many boys mentioned the need for precision with their measurements as well. As they went into the project, many also noted that they needed to adapt their expectations regarding the outcome of the project and were surprised by the fickleness and unpredictability of gardening.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
The Use Of Visible Thinking Routines In Mathematics To Encourage Flexible Thinking In Grade 12 Boys, Melissa Tackaberry, St. Andrew’s College, Aurora, Ontario, Canada

Key findings of the research included a perceived improvement in the ability of students to build explanations and form conclusions, develop their metacognition, effectively communicate with their teacher and peers, and cultivate their flexible thinking. There also seemed to be an enhancement of the learning environment of the students. As a result, the use of visible thinking routines appeared to have a positive impact on the students, and further use of this intervention and expansion into other grade levels is merited.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Adaptability: The Impact Of Teaching Critical Thinking Skills To A Mixed Ability Group Of Grade 9 Boys, David Molony and Maretha Potgieter, St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown, South Africa

In the variety of modes given to boys to reflect on their experiences, we found that in creating a space for boys to reflect on their place in the world, one of the most important aims of being adaptable in a changing world was developed through giving boys a voice within their complex negotiation of finding an authentic sense of self.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Lighting The Fire: The Impact Of Genius Hour On Year 3 Boys’ Creativity And Critical Thinking, Craig Newton & Joshua Beecher, The Southport School, Gold Coast, Australia

Through analysing a range of data gathered at various points throughout the project, it became evident that Genius Hour was a highly effective means of fostering creativity and critical thinking among the vast majority of our participants. Whilst there was a minority for whom Genius Hour did not appear to clearly foster these skills, the motivation for learning was higher than ever, and with more of an understanding, these participants may have had greater success with Genius Hour.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Cultivating Positive Attitudes And Flexible Approaches To Mathematics In Year 5 Boys, Deb McKay, Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia

Data collected revealed that by the conclusion of the project, the majority of boys had adapted behaviours and emotions in Mathematics through learning and using strategies to solve mental-maths questions and mathematical problems. As the boys developed self-regulation, their cognition became more adaptable too. Additionally, team-teaching with a Mathematics expert further impacted the positive progress and adaptations of the boys’ behaviours and the teaching direction.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Encouraging Empathy In Grade 9 Boys Through  The Study Of Philosophy, Tracy Mackenzie, St Alban’s College, Pretoria, South Africa

When reflecting on the data of this project, it was clear that there was a marked improvement in the boys’ ability to collaborate and to engage in critical and creative thinking. These skills were enhanced by the boys’ increased interest and sensitivity to the feelings of others, thus suggesting a link between the introduction of Philosophy for Children and empathy.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
The Role Of Valuing Participation On Risk-Taking In Grade 8 Boys In The French-As-A-Second-Language Classroom, Kimberly Lynch & Mackenzie Neale, The Sterling Hall School, Toronto, Canada

Our project sought to learn more about how boys are motivated to take risks and how the teacher may demonstrate value towards their participation in a second-language. Through the analysis of the data, we discovered that the social development of Grade 8 boys contributes more to their willingness to take risks than the value that teachers place on their participation.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Using Contract Grading To Encourage Grade Nine Boys’ Risk-Taking In Historical Writing, Nolan R. LaVoie Woodberry Forest School, Virginia, United States

The main reason for implementing a contract grading system was to shift power in the classroom from teacher to student in order to remove the significant power imbalance barrier. Once removed, I believed that the boys would work towards being comfortable enough to think critically and wrestle with the “why and how” of what they were studying. Once able to do this, they would be able to articulate those thoughts in their writing and in doing so, be bolder in expressing their ideas.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
The Benefits Of Incorporating A Mindful Minute At Cross Country Practices, Christopher Heaton The Roxbury Latin School, West Roxbury, Massachusetts, United States

Through the analysis and interpretation of the boys’ responses to questionnaires and interviews, it became clear that the boys experienced positive changes associated with the mindful minute, such as reduced stress, improved athletics performance, and a beneficial separation of the school day and sports practice. The results of the project are significant and have convinced me to continue the incorporation of a mindful minute at daily cross country practice and in my classroom.

  • Adaptability (2017-18)
Developing Flexible Approaches To Problem-Solving Through  Role-Play With Upper Sixth Boys, Ben Ford Dulwich College, London, United Kingdom

Through this action research project, a group of Sixth Form boys underwent a series of subject and content relevant role-play activities, which enabled them to identify their own weaknesses within interviews and improve their confidence to adapt their subject knowledge to an applicable situation. The project was a success at assisting students to be flexible within their interviews for Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

  • Collaboration and Team Learning (2016-17)
Using Phillips Exeter's Academy's Harkness Technique to Enhance Listening Skills in Year 12 Mathematicians — Nick Adams, Eton College, United Kingdom

A class of twelve Year 12 boys from Eton College participated in an action research project as part of their Mathematics A-Level course. The aim of the project was to evaluate the effect that delivering the Mathematics syllabus in the style used at Phillips Exeter Academy, based on the Harkness methodology, would have on the boys’ listening skills.

  • Maker Movement (2014-15)
Making Prototypes to Encourage Creativity and Support CAD Learning in Grade 8 Boys — James Moloney , Anglican Church Grammar School, Australia

How can utilising physical prototyping when teaching CAD skills enhance creativity in Grade 8 Makers?”

This study seeks to investigate two issues. Firstly, investigate if student creativity is being stifled by the requirement to produce virtual products prior to manufacture, Secondly, determine the effectiveness of directly linking physical prototypes to the CAD processes when students generate designs ideas.

  • Creativity through Digital Technologies (2012-13)
How Does the Use of Gamemaker Software Foster the Development of Creative Problem-solving Skills in Boys? — Ben Marr, Scotch College, Australia

How does the use of Gamemaker software foster the development of creative problem-solving skills in boys? If boys constructed their own computer games in a classroom that encouraged risk taking, cooperative endeavour, competition and challenge, would they create new products; products that were tangible evidence not only of boys' creativity, but also of boys constructing meaning from the interaction with the gaming software and with other boys?

  • Creativity through Digital Technologies (2012-13)
What Effect Does Formal Creativity Training Have on Student Self-perception of Creativity When Learning to Use Photoshop in the Digital Art Classroom? — Bill Bedard, Selwyn House School, Canada

This action research explored the idea of enhancing a digital art class with an approach to formal education in lateral and parallel thinking developed by Edward de Bono. The research question was “Would this intervention affect self-perception of student creativity while learning Adobe Photoshop in a Grade 9 Art class?

Real Men Don't Rape — Andrew Renard, St. Andrew's College, South Africa

How can boys’ understanding of masculinity and manhood be enhanced and broadened through literature in the language arts curriculum?

Real men don't rape. Working from this statement, my research explored two further questions: Can literature have any impact in changing boys’ attitudes towards rape? If so, what types of literature are most effective in achieving a change in attitude?

  • Positive Relationships, Positive Learning (2007-08)
Peer Mentoring: A Program for Guided Transition from the Junior to Senior School — Catherine Lamont, Trinity Grammar School, Australia

Can a guided transition program for primary students entering their first year of senior school assist with their learning?” This action research project evaluated an existing school peer support program, with the primary aim of tailoring the existing transition program, its infrastructure and its desired outcomes, so that it might better meet the needs of boys in the 21st century 

  • Positive Relationships, Positive Learning (2007-08)
Taking Bullying Out of the Classroom — Margot Long, St. John's Preparatory School, South Africa

How can the inclusion of an intensive program on bullying improve boys’ understanding of the problem and reduce incidences of bullying? The aim of this project was to raise awareness about the problem of bullying in the classroom and in the school; to teach better ways of dealing with conflict and issues of self-esteem; and to improve the learning experience for boys who would benefit from working in a safe, encouraging and supportive environment.

  • Boys and Digital Literacy (2006-07)
Are Digital Technologies Able to Enhance Learning by Promoting the Use of Varied Learning Stules in a Group of Boys with Learning and Behavioural Problems? — Peter de Lisle, Hilton College, South Africa

Prensky (2005) and many others maintain that games and gaming produce an engaged experience, and that this is applicable to boys in particular. In contrast school is boring or “enraging”. So it is argued that games are therefore the best way to create innovative instructional design for boys. (Barab et al. 2006; Squire and Steinkuehler 2005)

  • Boys and Digital Literacy (2006-07)
Does e-Communications and Writing Through Shared Web Spaces Such as Wikis and Google Docs Enhance the Learning Experience for Boys? — Andrew Holmgren, Fairfield Country Day School, United States

The purpose of this project was to determine if e-communication and writing through the use of wikis and Google Docs contributed to the overall quality of work and level of engagement for boys in grades six, seven, and eight. Preliminary findings suggest that the more comfortable one is with the internet, the more responsive one will be to online shared spaces.

  • Boys and Digital Literacy (2006-07)
Does the Use of an Organized, Systematic Teacher Generated Webpage Affect a Boys' Individual Success in School? — Marlene Sclar, Landon School, United States

The goal of this action research project was to develop a grade level homepage on the school’s Intranet that would enable 6th grade boys to “take charge” of their life at school. Results show that this homepage had an overall positive impact, and was successful enough that the boys requested a similar page for next year.

  • Boys and Digital Literacy (2006-07)
What Aspects of Video Gaming and Other Forms of Digital Expression Appeal to Male Learners, and How Can Educators Use These Techniques and Attributes to Enhance Learning? — Lynne Weber, St. Mark's School of Texas, United States

Digital learning certainly made a difference in the boys’ level of motivation and excitement about the subjects they studied. The only drawback was our own (the teachers’ and librarians’) relatively limited knowledge of technology. We had to let the boys find their own way after we gave them the tools to do it, and they seemed to have no problem figuring out the technology.