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Are Boys and Girls Wired to Learn Differently?

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Are Boys and Girls Wired to Learn Differently?

Post by JOKER on Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:08 am

Hello mates, I want to share with you this interesting article :

Are Boys and Girls Wired to Learn Differently?
Do boys and girls naturally differ when it comes to learning? Find out what the latest research tells us.
By GreatSchools Staff

John Gray's book Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars is a best-seller for good reason. It often seems that males experience - and react to - life quite differently than females do.

Gender differences become apparent at an early age and can be seen in the different ways girls and boys play and learn. In a first-grade classroom, it's not unusual to find the girls working quietly at their desks or cooperatively in small groups as the boys toss paper wads through the air, make silly faces at each other across the room, or seem bored, distracted and restless when seated. While many girls politely raise their hands to answer the teacher's questions, many boys blurt out their answers. Out on the playground girls play an orderly game of jump rope, reciting rhyming songs, while boys bounce balls, race around with no apparent purpose, while teasing girls and tackling other boys.

It may help to think about gender differences as being driven by both internal forces (biology and anatomy) and external forces (such as socialization and stereotypes). Here we'll focus on some of the internal forces by highlighting research that compares male and female biology, neurology and behavior.
Other Internal Forces at Work

Before we delve into gender differences, it's important to note that gender is only one of several inborn factors contributing to a person's unique makeup. Other internal forces that shape who we are and how we behave include:

* temperament (e.g., shyness, energy level)
* intelligence
* natural abilities (e.g., creativity) and disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, AD/HD)

With that caveat in mind, let's review what researchers have discovered about gender-based learning differences.
Brain Science: "Looking Under the Hood"

Over the past decade or so, researchers have attempted to determine what, if any, natural differences exist between male and female brains when it comes to learning. Research in neuroscience has found gender variation in human brain anatomy, chemical processes and function. These variations occur throughout the brain and influence language, memory, emotion, vision, hearing and navigation - all elements in human learning.

Researchers now know that the size of almost every lobe of the human brain is different in males and females. While researchers still don't fully understand how this relates to cognitive ability, they can make some good guesses.

For example, imaging studies consistently show that the region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is crucial to memory storage and spatial mapping of the physical world, is larger in women than in men. This might explain why, for example, men and women navigate differently. (Yes, that includes why "men don't stop and ask for directions!") Research suggests that men tend to navigate by estimating distance in space and orientation, while women use monitoring landmarks. Having a larger hippocampus may explain why girls generally have an easier time remembering what they learn.

In girls, the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres (or halves) of the brain, is generally larger than in boys. This enables more "cross talk" between the hemispheres of the brain. Boys' brains, on the other hand, are structured to compartmentalize learning. As a result, girls are usually better than boys at multitasking and can make quick transitions between lessons and tasks (Havers, 1995). On the other hand, a boy's ability to compartmentalize learning might result in better clarity and focus in certain situations.

Studies have shown that girls tend to use the areas of the brain devoted to verbal and emotional functioning, while boys generally use the areas of the brain geared toward spatial and mechanical tasks. (Moir and Jessel, 1989; Rich, 2000).

The male brain needs to recharge and reorient by entering what brain scientists call a rest state. Boys may naturally drift off or "space out" during a lesson. However, they are able to stay engaged in visual or hands-on learning that involves symbols, objects, diagrams and pictures but zone out when too many words are used (Gurian, 2001).

Eyes and Ears: His and Hers

In addition to brain variation, research has shown there are
anatomical differences between male and female eyes and ears. It seems
that girls acquire binocular vision (using both eyes at the same time)
at a much younger age than boys do, and that the visual cortex appears
to be organized in very different ways in boys and girls (Gwiazda,
Thorn, 1994).

Other research suggests that girls naturally have a keener sense of
hearing than boys do, especially at higher frequencies that are
important to speech discrimination (Cassidy and Ditty, 2001).

Since vision and hearing are closely related to one's learning experience, these findings are important.

Behavioral Studies: Show and Tell

Behavioral studies are also quite revealing. To filter out the
societal influences on gender roles, behavioral studies have been done
on human infants and other young primates. Melissa Hines of City
University London and Gerianne M. Alexander of Texas A&M University
observed monkeys, one of our closest animal cousins. When given a
selection of toys, including dolls, trucks, and gender-neutral items
like picture books, the male monkeys gravitated toward the "masculine"
toys while the female monkeys spent more time with dolls and types of
toys generally associated with girls. Boy and girl monkeys spent equal
time playing with the gender-neutral toys.

In another study, Simon Baron-Cohen and his team at the University of
Cambridge found among 1-year-old children, given a choice of films to
watch, the girls look longer at a film of a human face, while boys
seemed more interested in a film featuring cars (Baron-Cohen, 2003).

Might one's attraction to certain types of toys, films or subject
matter determine what type of learning environment will be the most
natural fit?

Puzzle Pieces Create Unique Patterns

Again, the research on gender differences should be considered part
of a bigger picture, including other inborn traits and external forces
at work in any one individual. For example, many girls with AD/HD
don't openly display their symptoms and are often diagnosed later than
boys. This may be so, in part, because society pressures girls to act a
certain way (to "behave well and play nice"), yet researchers wonder if
the size, structure and function of the female brain causes girls with
AD/HD to exhibit different strengths and weaknesses than we see in boys
with AD/HD.

When it comes to gender differences, researchers are on the brink of
understanding how brain mechanisms differ between the sexes, and what
these differences could mean for creating optimal learning environments
(teaching styles and settings) for boys and girls. Meanwhile, experts,
educators and parents debate the pros and cons of single-sex education.

Number of posts : 245
Age : 27
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Re: Are Boys and Girls Wired to Learn Differently?

Post by JOKER on Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:18 am

Another relate article :
Single-Sex Education: The Pros and Cons

Should boys and girls be taught separately? Does
single-sex education boost academic success? Read the arguments for and

By GreatSchools Staff

Single-sex education (teaching boys and girls in
separate classrooms or schools) is an old approach that's gaining new
momentum. While single-sex education has long existed in many private
schools, it's a relatively new option for public schools. The National Association for Single-Sex Public Education
estimates that approximately 400 public schools now offer some form of
single-sex education. What is fueling this movement? And what are the
risks and benefits of single-sex education?

A driving force in the single-sex education movement is recent research showing natural differences in how males and females learn.
Putting this research into practice, however, has triggered a debate
that extends beyond pure academics. Political, civil rights,
socioeconomic and legal concerns also come into play. As the debate
heats up, it helps to understand all sides of the issue.
Nature vs. Nurture

Before weighing the pros and cons of single-sex education, consider
the influences of "nature versus nurture." Many factors affect each
child's learning profile and preferences:

  • Some factors relate to the child's nature, such as gender, temperament, abilities (and disabilities), and intelligence.
  • Other influences stem from the way
    parents and society nurture the child: Family upbringing, socioeconomic
    status, culture and stereotypes all fall under the "nurture" category.

According to Leonard Sax, founder of the National Association for
Single-Sex Public Education, "...whenever girls and boys are together,
their behavior inevitably reflects the larger society in which they
live." Depending on one's point of view, this statement can trigger
arguments both for and against single-sex education.

Making the Case for Single-Sex Education

Those who advocate for single-sex education in public schools argue that:

  • Some parents don't want their children to
    be in mixed-gender classrooms because, especially at certain ages,
    students of the opposite sex can be a distraction.

  • Leonard Sax and others agree that merely
    placing boys in separate classrooms from girls accomplishes little. But
    single-sex education enhances student success when teachers use
    techniques geared toward the gender of their students.

  • Some research indicates that girls learn
    better when classroom temperature is warm, while boys perform better in
    cooler classrooms. If that's true, then the temperature in a single-sex
    classroom could be set to optimize the learning of either male or female

  • Some research and reports from educators
    suggest that single-sex education can broaden the educational prospects
    for both girls and boys. Advocates claim co-ed schools tend to reinforce
    gender stereotypes, while single-sex schools can break down gender
    stereotypes. For example, girls are free of the pressure to compete with
    boys in male-dominated subjects such as math and science. Boys, on the
    other hand, can more easily pursue traditionally "feminine" interests
    such as music and poetry. One mother, whose daughter has attended a
    girls-only school for three years, shares her experience on the GreatSchools parent community:
    "I feel that the single gender environment has given her a level of
    confidence and informed interest in math and science that she may not
    have had otherwise."

  • Federal law supports the option of
    single-sex education. In 2006, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
    eased federal regulations, allowing schools to offer single-sex
    classrooms and schools, as long as such options are completely
    voluntary. This move gives parents and school districts greater

What Critics say About Single-Sex Education

Those who claim single-sex education is ineffective and/or undesirable make the following claims:

  • Few educators are formally trained to use
    gender-specific teaching techniques. However, it's no secret that
    experienced teachers usually understand gender differences and are adept
    at accommodating a variety of learning styles within their mixed-gender

  • Gender differences in learning aren't the
    same across the board; they vary along a continuum of what is
    considered normal. For a sensitive boy or an assertive girl, the
    teaching style promoted by advocates of single-sex education could be
    ineffective (at best) or detrimental (at worst). For example, a
    sensitive boy might be intimidated by a teacher who "gets in his face"
    and speaks loudly believing "that's what boys want and need to learn."

  • Students in single-sex classrooms will
    one day live and work side-by-side with members of the opposite sex.
    Educating students in single-sex schools limits their opportunity to
    work cooperatively and co-exist successfully with members of the
    opposite sex.

  • At least one study found that the higher
    the percentage of girls in a co-ed classroom, the better the academic
    performance for all students (both male and female). Professor Analia
    Schlosser, an economist from the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at
    Tel Aviv, found that elementary school, co-ed classrooms with a majority
    of female students showed increased academic performance for both boys
    and girls. In high school, the classrooms with the best academic
    achievement were consistently those that had a higher percentage of
    girls. Dr. Schlosser theorizes that a higher percentage of girls lowers
    the amount of classroom disruption and fosters a better relationship
    between all students and the teacher.

  • The American Council on Education reports
    that there is less academic disparity between male and female students
    overall and a far greater achievement gap between students in different
    racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, with poor and minority students
    children faring poorly. Bridging that academic chasm, they argue,
    deserves more attention than does the gender divide.

  • Single-sex education is illegal and
    discriminatory, or so states the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) .
    In May 2008, the ACLU filed suit in federal court, arguing that
    Breckinridge County Middle School's (Kentucky) practice of offering
    single-sex classrooms in their public school is illegal and
    discriminatory. The school doesn't require any child to attend a
    single-sex class, yet the suit argues that the practice violates several
    state and federal laws, including Title IX and the equal Educational
    Opportunities Act.

Measuring Public Perception

How does the general public view single-sex education? To answer that
question, Knowledge Networks conducted a nationwide survey in early
2008. (Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance
at Harvard University sponsored the survey.) Survey results indicate:

  • More than one-third of Americans feel
    parents should have the option of sending their child to a single-sex
    school. (25% of respondents oppose the idea.)

  • Yet when asked if they'd consider a
    single-sex school for their own children, only 14% said they "definitely
    would" and 28% said they "probably would."

The fact remains that there are relatively few single-sex schools in
our nation's public education system, and where they do exist, they are
offered as an option rather than a requirement. If the single-sex
education movement continues, you may find yourself in a position to
vote for or against it in your own community.

Number of posts : 245
Age : 27
Registration date : 2010-03-05

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Re: Are Boys and Girls Wired to Learn Differently?

Post by TheUkrainian on Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:43 am

Impossible to read all that , It would be better to past us the link directly :
Best regards 

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Age : 31
Location : Deerfield, New York
Registration date : 2009-05-28

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Re: Are Boys and Girls Wired to Learn Differently?

Post by assi4ever on Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:53 pm



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Re: Are Boys and Girls Wired to Learn Differently?

Post by Nacerpro on Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:15 pm

Great job Joker and much thx to u TheUK.

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Age : 31
Registration date : 2009-05-15


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