Gender differences

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					Single Gender Language Arts

Osceola Middle School

Questions to answer tonight…
Why single gender Language Arts in Osceola? What have we discovered about how boys and girls learn differently? What would a single gender classroom look like? Is this an option your child(ren) would benefit from? What questions haven’t we answered?

Why single gender language arts?
Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE)
Revealed a significant gap between girls’ and boys’ writing Looked at three years’ of data We have 20% fewer boys demonstrating proficient writing than girls Other subject areas didn’t reveal such a significant gap

Which was drawn by a boy?

What have we learned about how boys and girls learn differently?
Boys and girls process language in different areas of their brains. Boys and girls process math in different areas of their brains. Girls and boys notice different things (boys: motion; girls: bright colors and people).

Which was drawn by a girl?

What have we learned about how girls learn?
Girls: Are more easily distracted than boys and prefer quiet and focus Prefer cooperative work Prefer problem solving tasks that help people Girls’ brains mature faster linguistically by about 4 years (found across cultures) Girls hear better (physical ear structure) Girls notice bright colors and people (physical eye structure)

What have we learned about how boys learn?
Boys: Are more kinesthetic Prefer more freedom of movement Do better when they can be louder and less restricted Boys brains mature faster mathematically by about 4 years Boys love motion (objects, people etc) Enjoy competition

What did we learn about how to best teach girls?
Best Practices for Girls
Face to face interaction Make and keep eye contact Smile Sit and listen Nod your head Agree/sympathize Show unconditional positive regard For a girl to be motivated to work, she has to believe you care about her

What did we learn about how to best teach boys?
Best Practices for Boys
Shoulder to shoulder contact Know when to use eye contact Assert teacher authority 1st week you have to be tough, no nonsense, lay down the rules, never turn your back Move around the classroom Be direct and very explicit about what you expect

How are classroom dynamics different for girls?
Classroom Management: Relations with Teachers-Girls
Being friends with the teacher enhances your status with other girls Teacher is considered ally and friend When encountering difficulties will consult teacher at initial encounter with difficulty Use first names to address girls

How are classroom dynamics different for boys?
Classroom Management: Relations with Teachers-Boys
Being friends with the teacher may lower your status with other boys Teacher is assumed to be an adversary When encountering difficulty boys will consult the teacher as a last resort Use last names to address boys

What happens in mixed gender classrooms?
Girls talk less often and say fewer words Girls are interrupted more Teachers don’t pause long enough for thinkers/less aggressive students Teachers spend more time with boys Boys receive more feedback, and more specific feedback, from teachers (including praise and correction)

What else did we learn?
Interesting Facts:
The #1 determinate of a girl’s confidence is how she feels about her looks Race does not exist on a biological level- gender does Brain tissue cannot distinguish by race, but can by gender Adulthood in terms of brain development is age 20 for females and age 22 for males

Would this option be best for your child?
You know your children best… Do they exemplify any of the characteristics we’ve learned about? Could they benefit from teaching styles geared for their individual needs? If so…make sure to check ‘yes’ on the return letter!

What if this isn’t the best thing for my child?
You know your children best… If you are not interested at this time, check ‘no’ on the return letter. If you try this option and have concerns during the course, contact the teacher, Dr. Styles or Mrs. Marrier.

How will the class be determined?
If there isn’t enough interest, all classes will be mixed gender. If there is more interest than spots, a lottery will be conducted (based on similar make up to any other classes) Year two of this opportunity.

Language arts teachers want to…
increase student achievement intensify the differentiation strategies used within their classrooms put professional development research into practice

Recommended Reading
Why Gender Matters, Leonard Sax 2006 Boys Adrift, Leonard Sax 2007 Teaching the Male Brain, Abigail James 2007 The Minds of Girls, Michael Gurian 2002 The Wonder of Boys, Michael Gurian 2005

Questions? Contact the middle school 294- 4180 x223. Becky Styles