Posts Tagged ‘
Monday, July 30th, 2012
Approaching math problems impulsively–by guessing at answers from memory rather than carefully calculating their responses–may give boys an edge over girls in the subject. LiveScience.com reports on the study, which concludes that parents of boys and girls alike can help their children by encouraging them to “shout out the answers” in math class:
The University of Missouri study followed 300 students from first grade to sixth grade. During those first two years, the boys called out more answers in class than the girls but also had more wrong answers. Girls were more often right, but answered fewer questions and responded more slowly, according to the university. By sixth grade, the boys were still answering more problems than the girls and were also getting more correct.
Several recent studies have argued that gender differences in math performance have more to do with culture than aptitude. Research published last year found that certain countries — generally ones with more gender equality, better teachers and fewer students living in poverty — showed a smaller gap between males and females in math and some had no gap at all.
Other research has pointed to inherent gender biases in the classroom. One such study found that high school math teachers tended to rate girls’ math abilities lower than those of male students, even when the girls’ grades and test scores were comparable to boys.
Gender issues aside, the researchers of the Missouri study — which was published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology — had some advice for parents based on the findings. “Parents can give their children an advantage by making them comfortable with numbers and basic math before they start grade school, so that the children will have fewer trepidations about calling out answers,” David Geary, a co-author of the study, said in a statement.
Image: Elementary school children, via Shutterstock.
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
After debating the issue, an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has voted to recommend that boys ages 11-21 receive the vaccine series that immunizes against human papillomavirus, or HPV.
The committee was almost unanimous in its vote that 11- and 12-year-old boys be given the vaccine, and divided over ages 13-21. All ages eventually passed and are now recommended, CNN.com reports.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. At least half of sexually active people will get it at some point in their lives.
In addition to protecting girls from cervical cancer, the vaccine will help boys avoid cancers of the penis and rectum, as well as head and neck cancers that are associated with HPV.
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering a new recommendation that would add human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to the immunizations boys receive as a standard of care. The vaccine is already given to girls between ages 9 and 26 as a way to prevent cervical cancers, genital warts, and other health concerns associated with the sexually-transmitted virus.
CNN.com reports on the reasoning behind the potential new policy:
Part of the push now is because girls aren’t getting vaccinated in the numbers doctors expected. “If the boys are also immunized, it reduces the transmission back and forth,” says Schaffner.
By receiving the vaccine, boys will also be protected against cancers of the penis and rectum. Also, there is growing evidence of HPV causing the recent increase in head and neck cancer. A study released earlier this month found approximately 70% of all oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV infection. The HPV vaccine protects against both, says Schaffner.
Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics began including the HPV vaccine on its list of recommended vaccines for boys.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that teenage boys who undergo smoking cessation education combined with physical exercise are almost twice as likely to quit smoking as boys who get education alone.
The study, which was conducted in West Virginia, followed 233 smokers ages 14-19, many of whom had started smoking as young as age 11. Three months into the program, 10 percent of boys who had received a 10-week smoking cessation program had quit. Of the boys who received the 10-week program plus a physical exercise regimen, 24 percent had quit smoking.
The New York Times reports that researchers are puzzled by the study’s failure to replicate the results in girls:
The data did not explain why a gender divide would exist, but Dr. Horn speculated that a few things could be responsible. Teenage boys are generally more enthusiastic about engaging in vigorous exercise, and are “more confident in their ability to be physically active,” [the study's lead author Dr. Kimberly] Horn said, while physical activity levels typically plummet as teenage girls get older.
“It’s puzzling to us; it was a surprise finding,” she said. “I think we also need to look at issues of self-confidence. It could be the girls started with some stronger fitness barriers to overcome than boys.”
(image via: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/)
Monday, June 27th, 2011
The Egalia preschool in the Swedish city of Stockholm is attempting to defy gender stereotyping by keeping all gender-specific references–including the pronouns “his” and “hers–out of the classroom. According to an article from KIAH news, children are referred to as “friends,” rather than by gender-specific pronouns. Construction toys are placed next to toy kitchens to discouraged gendered play, and classroom books feature homosexual couples, single parents, and adopted children. From KIAH:
There are no Snow White, Cinderella or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes. [School director Lotta] Rajalin, 52, says the staff also try to help the children discover new ideas when they play.
“A concrete example could be when they’re playing ‘house’ and the role of the mom already is taken and they start to squabble,” she says. “Then we suggest two moms or three moms and so on.”
Do you think preschools are where gender stereotypes start? Would you send your child to a school like Egalia?