our everyday life

Gender Differences in Learning Style

by Jana Sosnowski, studioD

Differences in academic achievement between genders is often discussed in terms of math and science courses or SAT scores. Additionally, the difference between students in terms of behavior and discipline is often highlighted as part of gender norms. A way of looking at the differences between the sexes is in the varying learning styles that each tends to utilize and the theories of how those styles are innate to each.

How Girls' Brains Work

Research published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development focuses on the physical difference in brain structure between boys and girls. One difference between girls and boys is the presence of a larger corpus callosum in girls, allowing for increased communication between the brain's hemispheres. Additionally, neural connectors in girls increase memory skills, listening skills and discrimination in tone. Writing and reading are supported by learning strengths of girls' brains. On the other hand, skills needed for spacial-mechnical manipulation are not as easily supported by the structure of the female brain.

How Boys' Brains Work

The structure of the male brain includes more cortical areas associated with spatial-mechanical function, which makes boys want to play with movement through the space around them. Additionally, boys only use half the brain space girls use for verbal-emotive functions. Boys' brains compartmentalize learning, which affects the ability to multitask and transition between activities. A boy's brain also produces less serotonin and oxytocin, which makes them more physically impulsive and less likely to be able to sit still in a classroom.

Differences with Words and Details

With the difference in girls' perceptions of information and creation of connections between ideas, girls are more likely to include sensory details in writing. In written assignments, girls often produce more words than boys and include more emotive details. On the other hand, boys learn better with pictures and moving objects. Boys are often better served by creating visual representations of their ideas prior to writing to engage the spatial-mechanical functions in their brains.

Differences in Math and Technology

The style in which boys and girls understand math differs, and common teaching methods that include drawing figures and formulas on a board support boys' brain structures and learning styles. Integration of words and group activities support girls' learning styles in the math classroom and can help close the gap between male and female performance in math. Additionally, the understanding of mechanical concepts is supported by boys' brain structures, and girls are often disengaged from fields in computer programming because of the abstract quality of programming language.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

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