Training, consultancy and resources to improve teaching and learning
You are here > Blog
Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog


On Boy's Failure

The Tale of Blidges and Gruffles 

Several years ago, in the land of Corticon, a distinguished and respected professor published a report which detailed the significant and worsening underperformance of Blidges. Gruffles, on the other hand, were praised for their continuing excellence. This made the Blidges' lack of achievement even more marked. 

Corticon's supreme ruler was most concerned (being a Blidge, and ruling a land half populated with other tax-paying Blidges) so the best magicians, warriors and healers were summoned and ordered to discover why Blidges performed so badly and what could be done about it. 

First the magicians tried. They cast spells, read cards, referred to ancient books and gazed at patterns of stars in the night sky. They concluded that the reason for the Blidges' underperformance was their lack of dedication and an aversion to hard work. They proposed that all Blidges put in more effort and work twice as many hours as Gruffles. But even when the Blidges' workloads doubled they still under-performed. 

Next the warriors set off on a quest, as warriors are prone to do, searching the length, breadth and depth of Corticon for a source of evil that might be influencing the Blidges' achievements. After a significant number of days (probably 101 or 366 or 7) they did indeed find an evil creature - a large rectangular one with a body covered in flickering images - who had entered the minds of all Blidges and placed evil thoughts there. Slay this beast, and the Blidges would be free to excel! This the warriors did with relish, wild abandon and very sharp swords but still the Blidges remained far behind the Gruffles. 

Finally the healers put their soft warm hands on the heads of several nearby Blidges. The healers closed their eyes, took several long and meaningful breaths, then slowly shook their heads. Blidges cannot be helped, they said, they are born under-performing. 

Corticon's Blidge ruler became very angry. Why should they play second fiddle to the Gruffles? What was so special about Gruffles anyway? What did they do better than the Blidges? It just wasn't right or fair. 

And on thinking that very thought the answer suddenly appeared! The reason for Blidges' failures was oh so obvious. You see, every year Blidges and Gruffles had their performance measured. Each one sat a test to measure how good they were at patterwhacking. Everybody knows that Gruffles have always been good at patterwhacking - it's in their blood. And everyone also knows that Blidges are very gifted in the art of grubhuddling. But there's no annual test of grubhuddling and Blidges have always hated patterwhacking anyway....

(adapted from How to Improve Boys' Learning by Mike Fleetham)
More about Boys' Learning

Posted in: Assessment
Share It: E-mail | Facebook

Post Rating

Login or register to rate this article


There are currently no comments, be the first to post one.
Login or register to post a comment

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.