Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boys & Girls are Biologically Different

I sure have been learning a few things these past days!

We just had our state teachers' convention, and since I am a teacher, I went. I did learn a lot actually. I always do. Some of it is actually re-learning.

One of the most interesting lectures was on the biological differences between boys and girls. While both boys and girls can learn the same amount, there are differences in the ways they learn.

Did you know that a boy's eyes have more M cells? They are able to gauge how fast something is better than girls. They also have thinner retinas. Because of these differences, they can't see all the same colors. They prefer colors such as black, gray, silver, and blue, along with bright colors. It might not be that they want to play with the red truck over the Barbie car due to gender roles, but because they can SEE the truck better! Also, boys need more light in order to be happy and think.

Girls, on the other hand, have more P cells and cones (whatever that means) and look for softer colors and texture. They can see more color variety. They are able to take in more details. That's the way P cells are wired. They need less light in their environment.

Between the two sides of our brain, the girls have a longer span which connects the halves. Think of it as a bigger bridge. This allows for more multi-tasking. Girls can respond better to stress.

The boys can't multi-task or transition well. They have a shorter span which helps them focus acutely and in turn they excel in math and science. Boys like lists.

Boys can use their hipppocampus like a compass, so they really don't need maps like us girls.

Boys actually can't hear female voices as well. Didn't we kind of know that somehow? Women teachers need to talk less and write more.

Girls can also hear more tonal range. Everything about language is increased in girls. They have more pathways connecting neurons to the brain. There is more word production, expression of experience, emotions and cognitive development. Girls generate more crosstalk. They get jokes deeper and generate more feelings of reward.

Girls' prefrontal cortex is more active than a boy's and it develops earlier. It is the place of decision making. Girls make less impulsive executive decisions.
Oh, and remember seeing a guy "zone-out"? Boy's brains go into a neurological rest state to re-set their brain 3-8 times a day.
When girls get bored, their brain still functions.

Boys are more competitive and naturally aggressive. While girls' levels of oxytocin (the love drug) rise when they communicate verbally, it doesn't for boys. Boys' levels of oxytocin are lower. They don't learn as much through listening and talking. Boys need action-response. Boys communicate through physical action.

They are big risk takers. There is more dopamine in boys. In order to deal with this need, the blood needs to be flowing around, so get them up out of their seats often (if only to stand, stretch, and sit back down).

Boys, who play more aggressively and take more risks, also have thinner skulls and often have undiagnosed brain injuries. Sports, such as soccer, with heading the ball, contribute greatly to this problem.
We could really learn about these differences and embrace them, but in our society of equality, we still believe in ONE SIZE FITS ALL. We punish those who willfully (as we misinterpret) go against our ways.

This has led to some awful statistics:

Boys earn 70% of all Ds and Fs.

Boys get 90% of all discipline referrals.

And lastly, since 1997, there has been a 500% increase in the use of Ritalin for boys.

Allah made us different for reasons in His Divine Plan. Our attributes can compliment each other---in the classroom, in the workplace, in our homes. Biologically, we are made exactly right, but we need to first learn the truth of who we are and then embrace ourselves and others. This is true for teachers in the classroom AND for husbands and wives at home.


Anonymous said...

Asalamu Walaikum Sis,
Great Post, masha Allah! After "working" with three boys for so long I am really excited about having a girl pupil! Alhumdiallah. The boys are so much fun for me because they really are different. I just wish they would all re-set at the same time!
I am infinetly interested in the development of Islamic schools look forward to any/all of your insights. Have you read any of Yahiya Emerick's articles about his experiences and insights? Here's a linky:
I have so much respect for teachers, especially Muslims in Muslim schools in this country--you have a vast and unique set of challenges to work with.
Love and Peace,
~Brooke AKA Ummbadier

M.J. said...

lol @ the pic!!

hfm said...

This was so eye-opening.
I never knew boys and girls had different eye-functions.

Anonymous said...

Salaam great post sis you are a teacher in which state?

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Gang,

Thanks for your comments on this post!

Asalamalaykom Anonymous,

I'm here but I think you are there and not here.