Langley teacher aims to help education system better understand boys

A masters student wants to be an advocate for boys in school.

Wayne Kwiatkowski recently defended his master’s thesis about boys in the education system.

A Langley high school teacher is heading back to the classroom this fall armed with both unusual research findings and a master’s degree no one else has – yet.

Brendan Kwiatkowski is the first graduate of Trinity Western University’s MA in educational studies, special education. He defended his thesis recently, and he believes it will make him a better advocate for students with special needs – an often underserved group in schools.

“Teachers tend to be less confident in teaching those students,” he said.

But Kwiatkowski has observed that more and more, mainstream classrooms have special-needs students with individualized education plans (IEPs).

When Kwiatkowski taught at a Langley public high school, he found that boys with such challenges were marginalized and particularly vulnerable, so with some administrative support, he began an intervention course that turned into the basis for his thesis research.

As Kwiatkowski worked with the boys in his study, and they shared their stories with one another, he developed a foundational understanding of why they might “blow up” at school.

“How masculinity is represented can be harmful,” Kwiatkowski explained. “It helped me build empathy for those students who are marginalized, and it will help me be an advocate for them.”

An excerpt from Kwiatkowski’s thesis abstract reads, “The consequences of societal pressures for males to be emotionally stoic, dominant, aggressive, and to avoid association with traits more aligned with the feminine, can be linked to a number of problematic social and emotional behaviours.”

“Educational research that explores masculinity in British Columbian high schools is rare,” said Dr. Allyson Jule, Kwiatkowski’s thesis supervisor at TWU.

Jule is the co-director of TWU’s Gender Studies Institute and the president of the Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes Canadian association.

“Brendan’s results point to some needed work on the part of teachers to consider how we limit students by deeply held sexist attitudes and beliefs about how children learn and grow,” she said. “His work challenges the notion that ‘boys will be boys’ and rather, points to the ways we make boys the way we want them to be. Stubborn stereotypes of boys as rough and tough make it difficult for boys to be any other way in today’s schools.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants earn a 3-1 victory over Everett in season-opener in Langley

Langley’s major junior hockey team opened the season at home with a victory over the Silvertips.

VIDEO: Police cooperation leads to arrest and interception of stolen Langley truck

A pickup was stolen in Langley early Friday morning and crashed in Burnaby later in the day.

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income in Langley

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

Work starts on highway lanes for 216th Street project

The new Langley interchange will see another phase of work begin this autumn.

Extradition hearing set for Langley developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

Dinos and dino eggs found in Langley City park

And so are slides and swings and more at the new themed playground.

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read