Celebrating the Essence of Boys
Christ Church staff, parents and members of the wider community listened to the eminent educator, writer and speaker Richard Hawley this week, gaining useful insight into the deep nature of boys.
School Chaplain Canon Frank Sheehan said the School community felt greatly enriched by Richard’s presence. “He struck a chord with his plea to us to keep on with the task of giving heart to those we teach,” Canon Sheehan said. “He reminded us that schools can become places where boys lose heart. He has written about this in his book Beyond the Icarus Factor: Releasing the Free Spirit of Boys.
“Richard reflected on the need to renew families, schools and other institutions so that boys are not robbed of their inborn vitality and resourcefulness. He built upon Carl Jung’s idea of puer, the spirit of boyhood, and he borrowed insights from the psychologist Erik Erikson as well as from various literary figures to reassure us that there is way through for those who might be alarmed by current perceptions of a crisis for boys.”
Canon Sheehan applauded Richard for celebrating the essence of boys and highlighting the need to recognise and foster their delightful creativity and daring. “Drawing upon his own theological training (including a year studying Theology at Cambridge), Richard quoted theological and philosophical works to outline a spirituality that is innate within boys,” Canon Sheehan said.
“He acknowledged the place of fantasy and the use of imagination so that a balance might be found within a culture that places too much emphasis on cognition and problem solving. As the title of his book suggests, we need to let boys fly past some very numbing societal expectations.”
Richard, who is the previous long-term Headmaster of University School in Ohio and the founding President of the International Boys School’s Coalition (IBSC), is the author of a report resulting from a major research project done by the IBSC that involved Christ Church.
Through the School’s engagement with the IBSC, Christ Church, along with 17 other schools from around the world, was involved in a major research project that reflected the voices of teachers and students regarding those teaching moments that make education exhilarating. Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices is the report from this research:
The findings and analysis of what teachers of boys and boys themselves reported as their most effective lessons in the course of their schooling. Faculties and boys from eighteen schools from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand participated in this study. The extent and substance of what teachers report here combine to cast important new light on what many see as an educational crisis in educating contemporary boys.