Did you know that boys have fallen behind girls in almost every measurable academic category? Boys are 3-6 times more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis, 3-5 times more likely to be expelled, 2-3 times more likely to die from suicide, and are reporting higher levels of loneliness on average. There are a lot of reasons to be concerned. This episode is for everyone. A relevant discussion for all educators as well as parents, and just people interested in how masculinity and our perceptions of it shape our world. The obvious elephant in the room here is also that there is a small, but vocal school of thought that the category of boy, girl, woman or man, due to their elements that are socially constructed, leading some to not see this issue as critical or existential.
Correction: I referenced “Isaac Reeves” as an author, this should have been Richard Reeves. His book “Of Boys and Men” is highly recommended.
As choir directors, we famously struggle to get boys to keep singing, or even to start singing. Dr. Brendan Kwiatkowski, a researcher specializing in adolescent boys’ relationship to their emotions joins me this week to discuss his findings and the broader science about a crucial educational issue. age 13-15 was the most difficult for boys in feeling “pressured” to appear masculine. Do you see any parallels to WHEN we typically lose the most boys in choir? I do…
I don’t find the term “Toxic Masculinity” helpful because it doesn’t it isn’t nuanced enough to actually describe the issue. I prefer the term “Restricted Masculinity” because the toxic behaviors often come from a a disconnection from our emotions.Dr. Brendan Kwiatkowski
You can listen from the widgets below which will take you to Apple or Castbox to finish listening, or you can find the show on Google Play, Spotify, Youtube or Stitcher!
Brendan successfully defended his Ph.D. in Education at the University of Edinburgh at the end of 2022. His research spans multiple disciplines (psychology, sociology, and education) and investigated Canadian teenage boys’ emotions, masculinities, and schooling experiences.
He is a mixed-methods researcher and believes very strongly in positive-focused and person-centred research that humanizes and empowers participants, as well as gives “voice” to their lived experiences. He is focused on making academic knowledge accessible for all and on conducting research that is transformative and practically useful for helping people in the real-world.
Before his Ph.D. Brendan was a secondary school teacher near Vancouver, BC for 5 years where he taught psychology, history, biology, and social justice. He received his MA in 2016 in Special Education where he created and co-led a yearlong social-emotional intervention for boys with behavioural needs. He loves teaching and has taught Gender and Education courses at the university level.
Brendan loves nature, breathwork, cold plunges, quality conversations, and music. He is also a husband and is a father to his three young children
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Joyce Keil says
I have been convinced of this for years and now the research verifies it. The publication of the book Of Boys and Men by Richard V. Reeves has received a lot of attention recently. Choral conductors can counteract these problems. By creating safe environments for men, ACDA can help by supporting boy choirs. As the founder of Ragazzi, I have seen boys flock to sing together ( from 7 boys to over 200) when they have the support of each other. Involvement in singing needs to start when they are young due to the societal bias that singing is not ok for men. Make it safe and they will maintain a life long commitment to music. They will develop the emotional intelligence to overcome limited ideas of masculinity and they will have a community that supports them for a lifetime. ACDA eliminated the boy choir committee and I am advocating for it to be reinstated and promoted.
Chris Munce says
Yes! I mistakenly said Isaac Reeves in the episode. I need to post a correction in the notes! But yes, his work is fascinating.