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More Research Needed on Gender Differences in Classroom

Published:Sunday | October 11, 2015 | 9:56 AM
Dr Carol Clarke
Moses Peart
These boys were seen busy completing their assignments. Males who sat the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) exams last year outperformed girls in only three subjects.

Professor Carol Clarke, vice-president of academic affairs at the Mico University College feels more research needs to be done on learning styles of boys.

Males who sat the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) exams last year outperformed girls in only three subjects.

According to CSEC statistics received from the Ministry of Education, males clocked a 56 per cent pass rate for music while females who sat the exam registered 56.4 per cent in passes.

In economics and principles of business, the pass rate for boys marginally surpassed that for girls. The respective pass rates for boys in economics and principles of business were 89.3 per cent and 95.2 per cent while for girls the respective rates were 89.1 per cent and 95 per cent.

"If you notice those areas ... those tend to be hands on and practical, and I think we have not done enough research on how to teach boys, and some of the subjects which tend to be theoretical we loose the boys because they consider them as boring and sometimes even our textbooks, our literature books, they tend to be very girly and are not as boy friendly as they ought to be," Professor Clarke posited.

She went on to explain why music appeals to boys and why it should be used to enhance the learning experience for them.

"I guess music would appeal to them because research is there to show that music really helps the learner even in the primary schools whether male or female," she said.

"There needs to be some research to see what component of the music appeals to these boys.Is it because they get to play an instrument? Is it the whole discipline of learning to play that will help them manage their time? Is it that it allows you that creative space? Sometimes boys don't like to be told things all the time, they like to explore and experiment and music does allow for that," Clarke said.

Dr Moses Peart, lecturer in instructional design and education at the University of the West Indies argued that boys will be more inclined towards technology-driven subjects and called for more emphasis to be placed on the creative arts subjects.

"With all due respect to the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Perfoming Arts, not a lot of emphasis is placed on the creative arts subjects so the whole entire creative industries is not getting enough push, not getting enough support systems, we tend to spend more on the theoretical," he told The Gleaner.

"Girls like to think, boys like to manipulate so they will gravitate towards subjects which allows them to do that ...Music utilises a lot of technology and if you know how music is produced, somebody cutting a record or going to a studio and a studio is full of equipment so fellows are more inclined to deal with that world more readily than the girls," Peart said.