The world would have you believe that there are no differences between genders during childhood; but the world would be wrong. While there are exceptions to every rule, there is a distinguishable difference between the learning styles of boys and girls that it would benefit every teacher to discover. There are certain teaching and learning styles that are far more productive for most boys. The fact that the number of boys versus the number of girls enrolled in the special education programs makes us wonder: are the boys there because they have trouble learning or are the boys there because the teachers are not teaching in ways they can learn more readily.
Spend a few minutes in a large, mixed group of children and you will notice a certain high energy level in the boys that seems to be missing in most of the girls. Boys, especially young boys, flourish in a classroom that has kinetic lessons. This does not mean that everything has to be done with their bodies, but that movement is worked in to the activity. An excellent example of this type of lesson is found in Dr. Jean’s video, ABC Sound Clues with Lettercise.” This activity uses both visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning as the letters of the alphabet are flashed on the screen, named and followed by their letter sound. Regular breaks are taken for physical activities such as running and jumping jacks. If you are a visual learner, check it out here.
The Lettercise activity also uses knowledge that researchers have uncovered. Boys need more brain breaks; when they become bored, they block out the instruction. Physical exercise allows them time to absorb the incoming information. The lack of interest also shows up when they act out during class, making kinesthetic lessons a benefit for the entire class and the teacher.
Another great activity to use with boys is Whole Brain education. Whole Brain Teaching involves all of the child. Check out the instructional videos and free ebooks here.
Boys brains tend to be geared toward mathematical-logical thinking, according to EduGuide.com. Lessons based on mathematical-logical thinking is possible for all subjects. For example, in history, create a time sequence chart, use a story grid for writing, or classify plants in science.
Boys also learn well when they have an interest in the subject material. Differentiated instruction has been a boon for boys as teachers are told to allow students to pick their own reading books in an area that holds their interests. No longer do boys have to read stories about talking bunnies. Bring on the robots and trains. Allow boys to have a choice in their materials and outcomes as often as possible. The entire class may be accountable for learning about volcanoes, but an expression of mastery can be found in reports, models, posters and more.
Males tend to be more visual than their female counterparts. Offer boys the opportunity to see what they are learning using charts, graphs, posters, models, etc. Allow them to draw their answers when possible.
It is said that the testimony of your teaching will be told by the boys in your classroom. It is easy to teach children who love to read, write and pay attention. Watch your boys and make sure you are meeting their needs too!