I read this NYT Opinion piece today, which argues that boys learn differently than girls and that we need teachers to be “boy-friendly.” Here is my response.
Are the bell curves really so distinct that this is truly about boys vs girls? Even if the peaks of the curve are offset in “small but real” ways, aren’t nearly all people in the huge overlap of experience?
Regardless of gender, we obviously have some learners who prefer moving, sitting still, talking, quiet reflection, competition, striving for oneself, creating, negotiating, language or logic. Why argue for a best answer, rather than creating a rich and varied experience for all students by offering different experiences at different times in our classrooms. I know that it is possible because I’ve experienced it as a student as A Growing Place, a Montessori preschool and kindergarten, and at The College School, an experiential education grade school, and as a teacher at the Chewonki Semester School for 11th graders.
Most importantly, by classifying these behaviors as gendered, we fail our quieter, reflective boys and we fail our boisterous, creative girls.