Reader’s Digest has a fascinating article on how boys and girls learn differently. It asks the opinion of David Chadwell, South Carolina’s coordinator of single gender education.
BOYS TEND TO PREFER
- Boys interpret the world as objects moving through space. The teacher should move around the room constantly and be that object.
- Colors that appeal to males are cooler colors, such as silver, blue, black, gray, and brown.
- Boys respond better to speaking that sounds matter-of-fact and more forceful. This is because, for boys, stress increases the blood flow to their brains which helps them stay focused.
- The ability to stand or move also helps them to be more alert by increasing their blood flow. And a room temperature of 69 degrees Fahrenheit creates optimum alertness.
- Boys will rise to a risk and tend to overestimate their abilities. Teachers can help them by getting them to be more realistic about results.
- So when teaching boys, stand and move around while speaking forcefully and realistically. Allow the boys to occasionally move and keep the room at 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Use cooler colors in your environment and teaching.
GIRLS TEND TO PREFER
- Girls work well in circles, facing each other. Using descriptive phrases and lots of color in overhead presentations or on the chalkboard gets their attention.
- Colors that appeal to females are warmer colors, such as reds, yellow, and oranges. The female eye also tends to prefer textures and visuals with more details (e.g., faces).
- Girls have more sensitive hearing than boys. They interpret speaking in a loud tone as yelling and anger, which can cause them to shut down. Stressful environments make girls feel nervous or anxious because stress sends their blood to their guts.
- Girls focus better while sitting down. And a room temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit creates optimum alertness.
- Girls at this age shy away from risk, which is exactly why lots of girls’ programs began in the private sector. Teachers can help them learn to take risks in an atmosphere where they feel confident about doing so.
- So when teaching girls, sit in a circle with the girls and speak descriptively and in a nurturing tone. Keep the room at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Use lots of colors, particularly warmer colors, and use visual and/or tactile textures. Create a secure yet stimulating environment where they can feel comfortable in taking risks that you encourage them to take.
Kent Shaffer Kent Shaffer is the founder of ChurchRelevance.com an online resource created to inspire and train ministers to be more relevant and effective. He also co-owns BombayCreative.com, a ministry-oriented design firm, and AcreScout.com, a commercial listings site.