Understanding Your Kids: How Boys and Girls Learn Differently

We all know that there are many differences between girls and boys. Physically, mentally, and developmentally, all kids learn and grow at different rates but the role that gender plays is undeniable. Are the differences substantial, and how much do they impact your child’s success in school?
As with anything, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, there are some gender specific traits that are generally found in most children. For instance, girls often have a greater desire to express their feelings verbally, while boys tend to express themselves physically. It’s important to acknowledge that anyone is capable of anything, but understanding what makes your child tick can also allow you to help them to be successful.

What’s the difference?
While what your child is capable of learning isn’t different, how they learn and express themselves can be. All students are capable of learning the necessary material and gender is never an excuse for poor academic performance or behavior. However, understanding that all children are different and have different needs can help negate potential stumbling blocks for your student.

The rate at which the brain develops in children is different in girls and boys. This is where the differences between the genders stem from. Once your children are grown these differences are negligible, but while they’re in school it can certainly impact their learning. This can also be used to explain the drastic increase, and possible misdiagnosis, of children with ADHD. Male students, and students that are the youngest in their class, are much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than older children or girls. A lack of maturity and difference in brain development can explain this.

Desire For Movement vs Ability To Focus
One of the biggest differences between boys and girls that frequently affects their education is the desire for movement in boys versus the ability to focus in girls. Whether or not your child likes their teacher can play a huge role in if your child is willing to learn from them. So if your son has a teacher that requires them to focus intently and remain motionless, an unrealistic expectation for most boys, it can drive a wedge between them. The same could be said of a teacher that expects your daughter to remain silent for hours on end. Yes there are chatty boys and energetic girls, and yes expecting anyone to remain silent and still is a ridiculous expectation, but it can be more of a strain depending on your personality and gender.

When parents and teachers understand and support the differences and needs of boys and girls they can help to ensure their future success. Most educators understand this. In their efforts to learn about and connect with their students, they’re also able to gain an understanding of their needs (not learning styles).

Recognizing that some students have the need for freedom of movement in order to focus and that other students may have more emotional needs and the desire to express themselves verbally can go a long way towards allowing you to supporting your child’s education.

At St. Barnabas Episcopal School we recognize the role that individuality plays in your child’s education. Things like protected time for recess each day, opportunities for artistic expression, and fostering student interests are all ways that we strive to support your child’s unique learning needs. Smaller class sizes and professional autonomy allow our teachers to get to know their students and provide a more personalized touch to their education. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a tour.

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