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Do boys and girls learn differently in school?

Posted November 28

If there’s one company that knows how kids learn, it’s Lego.

About 40 years ago, the toy company sent a letter out to a parent that explained how boys and girls aren’t different when it comes to learning with toys, according to Quartz. This letter may have only recently surfaced online, but it’s message is clear and pertinent to today: It doesn’t matter what toys a boy and girl us. They will learn from playing as long as their imagination is right and they’re willing to learn.

“The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them,” the letter said.

According to The New Republic, boys and girls don’t learn differently from each other, and gender-specific learning lessons and books don’t help the opposite gender thrive. Books for boys don’t help girls, and books for girls don’t help boys, leaving both genders only getting half of the available help.

So boys and girls learn in much of the same ways. That said, they develop learning skills in different ways from a young age.

Girls usually learn more language skills when they’re young. According to WebMD, the hippocampus, which is “critical to verbal memory storage,” grows faster for girls, giving them a leg up on “verbal functions,” like speech. Girls will take more consideration with speaking, too, giving themselves time to respond and calculate the right answer — where as boys are quick to jump into action and get their answers out quickly, WebMD reported.

According to Psych Central, girls are more organized with their papers, desks and books, and they take time to think over answers, which leads to girls getting better scores on tests, quizzes and exams, as Gnaulati of The Atlantic suggested.

But for boys, early learning is all about visuals. Boys have a faster growing cerebral cortex than girls, which allows them to "learn better with movement and pictures rather than just words,” WebMD reported

This is why boys are more likely to grasp visual concepts on the chalkboard because those ideas imply action and movement, according to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

A boy’s brain goes through a refreshing period, too. Boys are more often to fall asleep in class or take a break by sitting in the back of the room, since they’ll eventually come back to learning with renewed energy to learn, according to the ASCD.

So while brain development may be different for boys and girls, they ultimately end up learning the same way. In fact, researchers suggest boys and girls partake in similar activities to learn, like kicking a soccer ball while being taught lessons, so it’ll keep them focused and improve multitasking. Researchers also said parent should use more graphics and pictures to help their kids stay more organized and learn new concepts, according to the ASCD.

Parents can also point out the everyday use of math and sciences, since then they can think through how to apply these educational subjects in real life.

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