I’ve been thinking lately. The more I travel and teach students, the more I can see that the way males learn is just different than females.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Both genders are growing up today in a new day, impacted by iTunes, iPhones, iMovies, iChat, iPods, etc. All young people seem to be permanently connected to each no matter where they live. But, females are more prone to sit and listen to their instructors dutifully, then echo the information back to the instructor during exam time. More and more, guys are finding it difficult to do this. According to our surveys–most boys don’t like school.
Guys are not necessarily stupid. (Isn’t that kind of me to say that?) However, they weren’t wired to sit still and listen in order to learn. Most of the boys I meet are visual and most are kinesthetic learners. I interacted with a researcher who traveled the globe to find out how schools were working in several countries Western Europe. He discovered something interested. More than one teacher took their male students outside for learning. Once at the outskirts of a forest, the paired the students up, and had one of them blindfolded. Then, the seeing student was to take the blindfolded student and select a tree. The blindfolded student was asked to do whatever they needed to do to identify that tree without seeing it. Each one touched it in many places, listened to the sounds as they walked around it; some even licked it. When each blindfolded student was finished, they were led back out of the woods and his/her blindfold was removed. At that point, they were told to enter the woods again, and find the tree their partner had chosen.
Can you guess what happened? Every one of them was able to find it. In the midst of hundreds of trees, each one had “experienced” the tree and could “see” it without their eyes. Hmmm. This would seem weird to American educators. We would rather give a lecture on trees then test the students to see if they understood them on paper.
I wonder if we are in a “classroom” to many hours these days. I wonder if memorizing facts and dates is too large a part of our education process. Maybe more experience with reflection is what we need.