On Getting Boys to Write: On her blog "Trail of Breadcrumbs," Gretchen Bernabel states “boys don’t elaborate and never will.” I thought this was an interesting point. I pondered this statement over and over again as I was looking over a 20-page research paper that my nephew had gotten a D- on. He was very disappointed in his grade, and he asked my opinion on the teacher’s comments. According to the rubric, he did indeed find all the basics that were required to complete the assignment. The issue with this particular paper is that he didn’t elaborate as to why these facts were relevant to his thesis. All up and down the side margins of the paper were comments indicating the instructor wanted more, to stretch a point or expand an idea. This seemed like a particularly frustrating challenge for my 15-year-old nephew, and was almost a foreign concept.

Perhaps there’s something to the idea that boys are more prone to just the facts” kind of writing. Because many boys are so technologically savvy and process driven, the idea of distracting from the process with explanations may seem like a waste of time. When I reflect on the students I have worked with over the years and the assignments we have worked together on, it doesn’t surprise me that papers on how to solve a problem or follow a process seemed to resonate more with the male population of the class, while the females struggled and felt quite bored by these assignments. Now this is no formal research, just my own observations. However, it does support the idea that the ambivalence boys feel towards writing may be a topic based disinterest, as well as a lack of interest in self-expression and elaborations.