Are the brains of boys and girls really different? Should schools teach them in different ways? Wouldseparate classrooms make a difference?
More girls than boys are going to college and graduating from high school. More boys are disciplined and are diagnosed with learning disabilities. Fewer boys indicate an interest in reading. Girls are catching up with boys in math and science.
More parents, teachers, and policy makers believe boys and girls learn differently, and are demanding that programs should be implemented to address those unique styles in classrooms, even though the evidence is unclear.
Yet, researchers report finding more differences within the genders than between the sexes(Professor Marian C. Diamond, University of California). But others, like Leonard Sax, president and founder of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, and author of Boys Adrift and Gender Matters, contend that boys and girls have different learning styles and today's schools are geared more toward girls' learning style. While he admits that some girls are active learners and some boys are quiet ones, the differences are enough to make it necessary for boys and girls to learn in separate classrooms. At the very least, schools should make an effort to accommodate male learning styles, he contends.
However,are learning differences between boys and girls the result of biology or culture? Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist at the Rosalind Franklin University for Medicine and Science's Chicago Medical School, said at EWA's 2008 national seminar that shefears the single gender movement could reinforce old stereotypes. Eliot alsopointed outthat journalists are more apt to write about studies that reinforce thebelief there are inherent differences between girls and boys.Eliot started out believing those perceptions until she studied the research for a future book and found more weight against differences.
With a growing concern about a “boy crisis” happening in American classrooms, single sex education is becoming more popular in public school systems. Once the norm at many elite, private institutions, single sex schools have taken off in places such as South Carolina emerging as the nation’s leader in single gender education. The state has 97 schools with same sex classes.
Someeducators havedecided that segregating the sexes is the right thing to do, despite the meager statistical data to show how same sex classes affect student achievement. Proponents say they notice a difference in students’ self-esteem, class participation and structure in same sex classes, says National Association for Single Sex Public Education (NASSPE).
Arnold, Brain Research Institute of UCLA,A scientist who looks at sex
differentiation including brain development, 310-825-2169
Women's Studies Research Center Brandeis University, has
written a book about gender myths. 781-736-2287
Works with school districts on developing single sex
Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neurology Clinic
Kennedy Krieger Institute, looks at the biological basis for learning
disabilities in children and the differences between girls and boys
with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She has used MRIs to
look at gender differences. 443-923-9250
Professor of neuroanatomy, Department of Integrative
Biology, University of California Berkeley, expert and author on how
learning affects the brain, 510-642-3281.
Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist at Rosalind Franklin University for Medicine
and Science's Chicago Medical School, over brain research and gender
difference. She is writing an upcoming book looking at the big
picture on what brain research says about gender and learning.
neuroscientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, research
on the adolescent brain, 301-435-4517.
Claremont McKenna College, is one of the foremost experts on
gender and the development of cognitive ability 909-607-9647
Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Penn State, looks at
the intersection of cognitive and social development. She is working
on a study looking at sex differences in spatial learning,
senior scholar, The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in
Higher Education, looks at demographic differences in college
persistence and degree attainment, 202- 638-2887
Providence College, research looks at single sex schools and
the struggle of boys in the classroom, 401-865-2232
president and founder of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education
is an advocate for single sex education and differentiated learning
for boys and girls, 301-461-5065
Saint Mary College, researched single sex education , 845-569-3525
Ann Rubenstein Tisch
Young Women's Leadership School of East Harlem, founder and
president of the Young Women's Leadership Foundation, which develops
public schools for girls, 212-207-3221.