Last week I talked about the real differences between boys and girls, and how they affect the learning environment. Although the title implies that we should erase gender differences, that’s not my intention. Gender differences are both good and natural. The differences we need to erase or minimize are those which minimize the success of each gender.
To help you do so in your home teaching times, I want to share some tips for teaching both genders. These are instructions for teachers, but parents can apply these teaching tips.
Teaching Tips For Boys
o Use legos, beads and other manipulatives to promote fine motor development. Boys are behind girls in this area when they start school.
o Place books on shelves all around the room so boys make connections to real experiences. For example, place block books in the block area.
o Make lessons experiential and kinesthetic (including movement and a variety of senses)
o Keep verbal instructions short.
o Personalize the student’s desk or cubby to increase his sense of attachment.
o Use male mentors and role models, such as fathers, grandfathers, or other male volunteers.
o Let boys relate to one another through moderate roughhouse play. This is part of their repertoire, and while it can frustrate parents, it is important to the development of boys. Think through your rules ahead of time and share those with your boy children.
Teaching Tips For Girls
o Play physical games to promote gross motor skills. Girls are behind boys in this area when they start school.
o Have portable/digital cameras around and take pictures of girls being successful at tasks. Show these to girls to help their confidence.
o Use water and sand tables to promote science in a spatial venue.
o Use lots of puzzles to foster perceptual learning and spatial awareness.
o Form working groups and teams to promote leadership roles and negotiation skills.
o Use manipulatives to teach math.
o Don’t help girls too much. Encourage them to solve problems themselves.
These are simply a few tips I share with teachers to capitalize on the strengths of each gender, and to overcome some of their relative weaknesses. Each gender has equal dignity and value, and every child is a treasure.
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