Why do most little girls cuddle dolls and play dress-up while boys "rough-house" with trucks and trains? As we grow up, why do girls tend to excel in language and writing while boys perform best in math and science?
Gender differences run much deeper than learned behaviors we adopt by watching our parents - they stem from differences in the way we process information. Scientists have discovered that some of the behaviors that differentiate boys from girls are the result of differences in the way our brains develop and operate.
In girls, for example, the language areas of the brain develop early, while in boys, the visual-spatial areas of the brain develop first. Similarly, girls' brains are quicker to process emotion than boys. Researchers have also found that male and female eyes are organized in different ways (males are more attracted to direction and motion while girls are drawn to textures and colors), and that boys and girls hear differently (girls hear higher frequencies than boys and are more sensitive to sounds). In addition, boys tend to be stimulated by stress and confrontation while girls are more likely to focus and take risks in a less stressful environment.
Maximizing Learning Through Single-Sex Education
Educational curricula that ignore these learning differences are more likely to produce boys who struggle with language and communication and girls who have little confidence in their mathematic and scientific abilities. Teaching boys and girls using the same style and approach will not close the gap on these gender differences; rather, they further the stereotypes that hinder learning and can cause members of each gender to give up on success in certain subject areas.
Girls who are struggling in school are not necessarily defiant, attention-deficient, or unmotivated. They simply may not be getting the attention they deserve. Single-sex schools transform the classroom experience to nurture the special talents and learning styles of...