One of our recent resources for parent teachers focused on how boys & girls differ in learning & expressing themselves. Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A recent study (click this link for the featured opinion in the New York Times) in The Journal of Human Resources offers important information: THEY SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY!
Further supporting the idea that children learn differently, is this article in Readers Digest (click the link to read more). An excerpt follows:
“They see differently. Literally,” he begins. Male and female eyes are not organized in the same way, he explains. The composition of the male eye makes it attuned to motion and direction. “Boys interpret the world as objects moving through space,” he says. “The teacher should move around the room constantly and be that object.”
The male eye is also drawn to cooler colors like silver, blue, black, grey, and brown. It’s no accident boys tend to create pictures of moving objects like spaceships, cars, and trucks in dark colors instead of drawing the happy colorful family, like girls in their class.
The female eye, on the other hand, is drawn to textures and colors. It’s also oriented toward warmer colors—reds, yellow, oranges—and visuals with more details, like faces. To engage girls, Chadwell says, the teacher doesn’t need to move as much, if at all. Girls work well in circles, facing each other. Using descriptive phrases and lots of color in overhead presentations or on the chalkboard gets their attention.
Parents tilt their heads, curious to hear more.
Boys and girls also hear differently. “When someone speaks in a loud tone, girls interpret it as yelling,” Chadwell says. “They think you’re mad and can shut down.” Girls have a more finely tuned aural structure; they can hear higher frequencies than boys and are more sensitive to sounds. He advises girls’ teachers to watch the tone of their voices. Boys’ teachers should sound matter of fact, even excited. Chadwell’s voice sounds much more forceful as he explains.”
Our hope is for our classroom environment to carefully consider gender and development in designing curriculum, connecting with students and creating opportunities for our sprouts to know themselves as they are today.