Boys and Girls Learn Differently

frusboy.jpgIt really should not be surprising that boys and girls learn differently after all boys and girls are different. However there is a growing movement supporting single sex education. Dr. Leonard Sax, an outspoken support of single sex education and the author of Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences begin investigating the differences between the way boys and girls learn after one of his patients made remarkable progress educationally after being enrolled in an all boys school.

In his book Sax cites numerous between the learning styles of boys and girls including the emotional and cognitive difference between boys and girls. Another interesting difference between the learning patterns of boys and girls was discovered by Japanese researchers is found art styles. Boys draw action, use fewer colors and prefer gray, blue, sliver and black. In contrast girls use 10 or more colors and prefer warm colors. The subject of girls’ art tends to be people, pets, flowers or other still life. Boys also need more hands on instruction than girl.

I have taught in single-sex classrooms as well as traditional classrooms. In some cases, I believe that single-sex classrooms may be better, particularly for students in middle school. The students in the single-sex classrooms seemed to do better than traditional classes. The atmosphere and environment of the class was quite different in the boys’ class and the girls’ class. Both classes seemed able to concert on learning more than socialization. Also, my teaching styles were quite different for the each class. I was able to tailor class projects and assignments towards the interest of each group. While, I am not totally convinced that the secret to academic success lies within single-sex classes over co-ed classes, I do find Sax’s research intriguing.

Source: NY Times


  1. I think there is something to be said for same-sex education, because I believe boys do indeed learn differently from girls. I also think that once students reach a certain age, they are overly concerned with appearances and socializing if they are in classes with the opposite sex.

  2. When I taught middle school computers that were same-sex classes it was actually easier. The boys class was rowdier but got along pretty well. The girls had a little less issues without boys in the class. Also, I was able to taylor the projects to interest. The girls class progressed faster through the desktop publishing. In fact they got into advanced designed. The boys really did pretty well with the spreadsheets. We used sports stats for the data on the spreadsheets.

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