Learning Styles Transcend Gender Differences

No single way to learn

In my last few posts, I’ve looked at how important it is to recognize that boys and girls learn differently, and that in order to help them learn equally well, and to equip girls for the future despite society’s biases, parents and teachers must help girls become more confident at an early age.

At the same time, there are learning styles that transcend gender differences. Think for a moment of how different our lives are today from those of our prehistoric ancestors. Some 50,000 years ago, the short attention spans and restlessness associated with ADD might have given certain tribe members an edge—such as snagging a juicy piece of mastodon.

Neuroscience research shows that people with ADD are “hard-wired for novelty seeking—a trait that had, until recently, a distinct evolutionary advantage,” says Richard A. Friedman, a professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Having a rapidly shifting but intense attention span and a taste for novelty would have proved highly advantageous,” he says. Girls and boys with ADD can find lectures and rote classwork unendurable.

To varying degrees, this is true for many children. Fortunately, what’s good for children with ADD is also great for other kids—absorbing projects, interaction, self-paced computer assignments, and tasks that build specific skills.

Entrepreneurial learning is project-based and engaging. With neurosciences revealing more each year, what’s exciting is that there is no single way to learn—for either gender—so we must pay attention, mindful of the fact that learning engages different parts of the brain. Entrepreneurial learning helps tease out learning differences for girls—it offers meaningful ways to make math, technology and science relevant to the problems they care about. It’s basis in real-world problem solving brings STEM to life.

But most of all, entrepreneurial learning lets all kinds of learners go where their ideas take them.

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