The Differences In How Men and Women React In Learning

men and women react in learning

Often men and women react differently in a learning environment. When I was leading the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, this situation became crystal clear to me.

I observed striking differences between male and female students in class. Young women whom I saw strolling around campus fully engaged and outgoing became, in a predominantly male classroom, somewhat timid. I didn’t see this timidity and fear in the young male students. Most of the young men would take a stab at any question, seemingly without regard at being embarrassed if they were wrong. Young women who actually knew the answer wouldn’t venture it unless they were entirely certain, and even then often sheepishly.

The pattern was consistent, unmistakable, and aligned with what I’d experienced as an engineering student a decade earlier. The young women lacked confidence and feared failure.

As I broached STEAM subjects with them (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), I realized that no amount of my encouragement or coaxing could lead them to overcome their self-doubt. The problem wasn’t as simple as that.

Their lack of confidence had developed years earlier.

One hesitant student confided in me that she was dropping her computer science class because she was making Cs. To me, making a C in a tough subject suggests that you can get a better grade by working harder. But for her, the C was a ruling on her abilities. It might as well have been an F.

This moment was the conception of an idea. What if girls learned entrepreneurial skills long before college? Could girls as young as pre-K be taught to approach learning and life with an entrepreneurial mindset? Could they be taught to persevere through failures and setbacks in pursuit of their goals? What if their self-image was unchained, and their self-confidence unleashed by shifting their thinking?

What if I created the environment for children to learn these skills?

I’d love to hear from you. Have you noticed the difference between how men and women act in a classroom environment? Have you noticed this difference in yourself? Thank you for sharing.

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