Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Research on gender: Should we be doing single gender groups?

Why Gender Matters, Boys Adrift & Girls on the Edge, by Leonard Sax
This summer I read the 3 books written by Leonard Sax, the founder of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education.  I found each of the books to have some very important concepts for school counselors and I recommend they be read in the order they were written.  I especially value that they are based on research and that when new research is available he updates his books on his web page www.leonardsax.com

Just a few things I found important, first in Why Gender Matters he reviews the research showing that girls are born with more sensitive hearing than boys, and that the difference increases as children grow up. So if a male speaks to a girl in what he thinks is a normal voice, she may hear it as yelling.  When boys appear to be inattentive in class, they may need to be closer to their soft spoken female teacher. It also explains the brain research that explains why it is so hard for males to express feelings.

In Boys Adrift he explains that the main reasons for male disengagement in the real world is mainly due to 5 causes: 1) Video Games; 2)  Teaching Methods; 3)  
Prescription Drugs; 4)  Endocrine Disruptors; and 5)  Devaluation of Masculinity

Finally, in Girls on the Edge he outlines four points that need to be addressed to combat problems facing many girls in our society: 1) sexual identity; 2) the cyberbubble; 3) obsessions; and 4) environmental toxins.

Overall, I recommend these books to teachers, counselors, and parents raising boys and girls in America today. He challenges the reader to consider holding many children out of kindergarten for a year, the value of sports, how to problem solve with girls vs. boys, and many other practical matters. In thinking about his research I am going to offer more single gender small groups this year.  For example, if I have a second grade boys social skills group I can select materials and activities that appeal to most boys and modify my own delivery to accommodate learning style.

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