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Gender-Appropriate Schooling?

According to researchers at the Radford University Center for Brain Research, boys and girls benefit from different learning styles, and our current educational system is biased against young boys. Because of general brain differences, boys learn best by doing rather than listening, especially at younger ages. But our language-dominated educational system requires that students sit still and pay attention for long periods of time, something that boys naturally find especially difficult.

Male and female brains exhibit different patterns of growth. In males, the brain develops from the back and works forward; with females it is the reverse. The frontal lobe, responsible for setting priorities and discerning what is practical or appropriate, matures faster in girls than boys. Not surprisingly, boys more often than girls are diagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Redesigning educational programs to include more physical learning tasks would help boys enjoy school more and improve their performance. Girls may benefit as well from this type of reform. Ironically, the existing language-dominant educational system is disadvantageous to girls, because it plays to their strengths rather than encouraging them to develop the spatial skills necessary for abstract mathematics. Based on information in: USA Today Magazine, Sept-Oct 1998

Excerpted from Spectrum Magazine
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