Michael Gurian, lecturer and family therapist: “A primary area of concern for nearly every teacher is the difference we each intuit in the males and females we teach.” Although the overlap between the genders is enormous, there is no denying that “boys and girls learn differently”.
Forget amateur wisdoms such as "boys are competitive, girls are collaborative". Scientists have recently discovered that differences between girls and boys are more profound.
Research revealed, for example, that boys and girls see differently: male eyes are attracted to movement and to cooler colours (such as blue, black, grey), while female eyes are enticed by textures, details and warmer colours (red, yellow, orange). Learning Styles cater for this difference by assessing the student’s preferences for visual input (see the LSA Pyramid).
Boys and girls also hear differently: girls interpret loud speaking as threatening, while boys see it as confident. Learning Styles distinguish the student’s preferences for auditory input (LSA Pyramid).
The male autonomic nervous system causes boys to be more alert in colder temperatures (Learning Style Element - temperature), as well as when they’re moving (Learning Style Element - mobility). Girls prefer warmer temperatures and they often learn better when seated.
Curiously enough, stress in boys helps them stay focused by directing blood flow into their brains. Girls respond to stress differently, with blood flowing to their digestive system and making them anxious.
Of course, says David Chadwell, South Carolina’s coordinator of single gender education: “These (learning) differences are tendencies, not absolutes”. To check your child’s unique learning preferences, click here.
Leonard Sax, MD, PhD offers the following examples of the gender differences:
· Brain development: In girls, the language areas of the brain develop before the areas used for spatial relations and for geometry.
· Wiring: In teenage girls, emotion is processed in the same area of the brain that processes language. So, it's not too difficult for most teenage girls to talk about their emotions.
· Sense of hearing: The typical teenage girl has a sense of hearing which is significantly better than a teenage boy. That's why daughters so often complain that their fathers are shouting at them. Dad doesn't think he's shouting, but Dad doesn't hear his voice the way his daughter does.