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Module 7: Gender Differences

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Gender Differences – Summary

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Gender differences that affect students are related to:
Physical behaviours
Styles of social interaction
Academic motivations, behaviours, and choices

Physically, boys tend to be more active than girls, and by the same token more restless if they have to sit for long periods. They are also more prone than girls to rely on physical aggression if they are frustrated.

During the first two or three years of formal school, gross motor skills develop at almost the same average rate for boys and girls.

In thinking about these gender differences, it should be kept in mind that they refer to average trends and that there are numerous individual exceptions.

There are social, academic and cognitive differences in gender roles that affect classroom life on a day-to-day basisStereotyping needs to considered in relation to social, academic and cognitive differences: there are individuals of both sexes whose behaviours and choices run counter to the group trends.

Teachers often intend to interact with both sexes equally, and frequently succeed at doing so. Research has found, though, that they do sometimes respond to boys and girls differently, perhaps without realising it.

These differences are related to:
The overall amount of attention paid to each sex
The visibility or “publicity” of conversations
The type of behaviour that prompts teachers to support or criticise students