Episode 141: Education’s Relationship with Masculinity with Dr. Brendan Kwiatkowski

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

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.

Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!

Brendan loves nature, breathwork, cold plunges, quality conversations, and music. He is also a husband and is a father to his three young children


“With great power comes great responsibility”—Uncle Ben. . Are bystanders to injustice more complicit the more social power they have? #homo #homophobia #masculinity #lgbt🌈 #lgbtq #lgbt #feminism #feminist #fyp #gay #gaystraightalliance .

♬ original sound – Brendan Kwiatkowski PhD

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