Have you ever watched little kids in action? How girls tend to stand in clusters, talking and whispering, while boys more often are running around and yelling? Not every girl can sit quietly in a chair, and not every boy is fidgeting with nervous energy, of course–some boys are statues while some girls are in constant motion.
In any event, how can we as teachers accommodate different energy levels and learning styles in our classrooms? Take a look at an MSNBC video about same-sex classrooms and their pros and cons.
What are the boys doing? Spider math! They’re on the floor, with clipboards, working problems. Some are later seen in low rocking chairs or standing next to their desks, smiling, clapping, and chanting. Of note are the statistics presented about test scores in this school–85% of the boys in same-sex classes passed their reading exam versus 55% in the coed rooms.
What are the girls doing? Sitting at tables, doing their worksheets in small groups or with the teacher’s assistance.
Does this mean we need to teach boys through motion and girls at desks? No. Can we take ideas from both classrooms to reach more learners in a coed environment? Why not?
How would you teach multiplication? What about setting up different stations to allow students to complete the same worksheet: a table with colored blocks to sort and count; a space on the floor for throwing beanbags; a table for group collaboration; a space for students to come up with a song and dance routine to remember the tables?
Image from Star for Life under a Creative Commons license, http://www.flickr.com/photos/starforlifeorg/3566387924/in/photostream/