Session 13 – Thursday 16th September 2010

Topic of Discussion

What is different between the ways in which boys and girls learn? Does it matter?

Summary of Discussion

The discussion started off with a period of clarifying the behaviour differences of the two genders. This included discussion of maturity, (boys are silly, immature, disorganised and girls are a distraction!!)
This then moved onto trying to define to what extent the comments were nothing but generalisations and to what extent they were based upon on truth. There was a fascinating question about whether teachers go into class with these preconceptions (perhaps more at Primary.) Should teachers seek to treat the genders as a blank canvas at the start of each academic year?
UKedchat then moved onto the role of teacher gender in tackling the issue. We saw the inevitable airing of questions of whether the low numbers of male teachers in Primary schools is a formative factor in the gender problems which manifest themselves in both Primary and Secondary schools.This was countered by many examples of schools where this has not been an issue and how it is down to relationships, use of technology and good teaching.
There were up to the half way mark attempts to define what is girl or boy friendly and whether they are exclusive of the other gender. The conclusion appeared to be that the approaches were often as effective for both. The issue of split genders in set and classes rose at this point with mainly very positive experiences of this in both primary and secondary settings.
In the second half the chat moved away from some of the generalisations to more specific suggestions and strategies.
It was pointed out that after half an hour a discussion of gender had mainly been about boys’ behaviour and achievement. At this point the issue of girls’ achievement in mathematics was raised.
The recognition of different learning styles and the stimuli used was cited as important and too often unrecognised.
In the last fifteen minutes suggestions were made to investigate Kagan and also Trouble with Boys by Tyre. Forest schools got a good mention from several posters as well as other practical activities.
To sum up the hour covered:
– teacher expectations
– selecting appropriate pedagogies
– splitting groups by gender
– societal and cultural pressures on pupils to conform to gender norms
– governors seeking male teachers in primary schools
– gender discussions should include discussion of girls not just boys
– Move the FS 6 areas of learning into Primary could make a more vibrant and relevant curriculum

Eye-Catching Tweets

@didactylos guess we are going to be talking about maturity, culture, gender and socialogical differences

@theheadsoffice The importance is to have a variety of learning styles whatever the gender

@squiggle7 If there are differences in learning there are most likely differences in male / female teaching methods

@tonycassidy i think its difficult to talk about groups, it’s too complex, what works weel for one, will not work for another

@theheadsoffice Expectations play a part when it concerns the gender of the teacher. Male is considered to be more active

@sport_ed From teaching all boys groups – engagement at the start of the lesson vital – competitive starter activities

@freedman69 too many stereotypes persist regarding gender divide in education. Good teaching benefits boys and girld. Don’t concentrate onlearning styles.

@deputymitchell We’ve a group of underperforming girls. Call them our ‘Gel Pen Girls’!!! Tidy, neat, smiley & if not careful stay under the radar!

@I’m going to be controversial. My stepson told me he tried not to act ‘too clever’ at school as it wasn’t clever.

@missbrownsword I was once turned down for a primary job because they decided to give to (head’s words) “the only male candidate”

@theheadsoffice I hasd staff use the fact that they had a larger number of boys in their class the reason for poor results! Where does that come from?

@helenmew  I think the transition from EYFS to Primary a shock and Primary to Secondary. Outdoor and indoor play very important

@joga5 It is equally successful for bot gender groups if the pedagogy is sound

@Mrsthorne I didn’t really clock our Scheme of work as not gender neutral until i couldn’t get the girl heavy group to do the activities!

@curricadvocate I’m detecting a few strands that look at the power of effective teaching to remove gender barriers

@ForesterJo We used Talk for Writing through Forest School type approach – extended writing better for boys and girls.

Tweet of Week

@clairelowe2 My research shows that developing a creative curriculum with motivation, challenge and reflection at the heart means ALL learners succeed.

Weblinks Highlighting During the Session

@catriona_O had a go at unpicking personalised learning http://tinyurl.com/qqca2x

Are boys really the weaker sex? http://bit.ly/auPGdH (via @telegraph)

Top 100 tools for Learning 2010 http://bit.ly/cZDsH2

About the host:

Bill Lord
Regional Literacy Adviser working in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
www.twitter.com/@joga
http://lordlit.wordpress.com

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