Understanding Boys

Notes yang pernah saya tulis selepas menghadiri Early Years Conference di London, UK.
Perkembangan anak lelaki berbeza dari perkembangan anak perempuan. Ibubapa dan guru perlu faham perkembangan, tingkahlaku dan corak pemikiran kedua-duanya supaya kita boleh membantu mereka untuk mencapai potensi penuh.

“Boys are more interested in learning through movement.
Girls are more interested in learning through words AND pleasing adults.”

Among the important points presented by Neil Farmer, an early years consultant, on understanding the way boys (and girls) learn.

Neil urged more men’s involvement in early years so that they can be role model for boys.

(From my own experience, Yes I definitely agree to this.)

Male teachers/practitioners, as compared to female, would understand why boys are learning the way they do, why boys prefer moving around to sitting still, why boys behave the way they do and what would be of interest to boys.   This would definitely help with boys’ attainment at school and most importantly to keep them interested in learning.

Developmentally, girls develop quicker than boys.

Girls are 1.5 to 2 years more advanced than boys developmentally.

This is the reason why boys are perceived as ‘underachieving’.

Boys are behind girls in physical, social, and emotional development.

  • In girls, language areas of the brain develop before spatial relations.
  • In boys, it’s the other way round.  Spatial relation develops before language.

A curriculum which ignores the differences in this specific area of development will produce boys who can’t write and girls who THINK they can’t do math. (So it’s not my fault, its the curriculum…heh)

  • In girls, emotions are processed in the same area of the brain as language.
  • In boys, emotions are separated from language (talking).

We need to understand that it is not difficult for girls to talk about their emotion.  Boys would find it rather complicated.

Boys use 30% language during play.
Boys are 70% less attune to hearing.

Therefore, don’t give too much instruction and information to boys because they can’t absorb that much.
Chunk out the learning.

Boys are more interested in things that move.
What do you have in your environment/provision that moves?
It should be THEIR environment.  Structured to their needs.  BUT teach them to be responsible.
Organise the classroom to suit their needs.  They can do anything they want to learn BUT they have to be responsible.

Since they lack in language and talking, boys are incredibly demanding of adults attention.
Their emotions are expressed through actions and not words.
They love cuddling and physical contact.

Exploration and discovery are keys to their learning.
Boys need to see the point in doing an activity.
When planning, think about what is interesting TO THEM.

Boys like authority and responsibility – give them.

Boys watch!!

Boys’ ankles and wrist are not fully developed until they are 5 to 6 years old.
Girls’s development is 1.5 years earlier.
This would have an impact on boys’ writing development.

Boys are more interested in learning through movement
Girls are more interested in learning through words AND pleasing adults.

Things to consider:
The most advanced stage of physical development is sitting still.
We can’t expect a 3,4,5 year old to sit still in the classroom.
If children are unable to sit still, it is showing that their balance and motor system are not yet sufficiently mature to sit still for a long time.

Research shows that boys don’t like literacy because they need to sit down with less movement.
They need to move to get their brains into gear.

You need uneven surface at school/provision to help with balance and coordination.
All smooth flooring/ground does not help with this development.

Boys – testosterone makes them more competitive.
Girls – more compliance.

Girls – more serotonin makes them more controlled, logical and analytical.
Boys – less serotonin makes them less cautious and more likely to explore and take risks.

Girls – more dopamine makes them hear better and listen attentively, need less stimulation.
Boys – less dopamine therefore the opposite.  Need more stimulation.

Boys learn better when they experience the learning.

A quote by Carol Dweck ” The view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life”.

What message are we giving boys about their competency as learners?
Do we try to understand the way they develop?
Do we organise the setting to suit both boys and girls?

Having said all these, during the conference Professor Iram Siraj, a leading expert in early childhood education, asserted that HOME LEARNING ENVIRONMENT is the most powerful factor that will influence a child’s attainment regardless of gender, ethnicity and social class.

MY ADVICE : Parents, do play your role as a primary caregiver and educator.  There is no substitute for that.
Work together in partnership with your children’s school and teachers.


Early Years Conference 2015

Noor Afidah Abu Bakar
Parent Connect Consultancy

 LIKE US ON FACEBOOK @  https://www.facebook.com/MyParentConnect

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