RE: Mathematical gender differences
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 20:19:35 EDT

Try my summary article (clearly written for teachers) on this topic in Feminist
Teacher (Winter 95) called "Brain Difference Research and Learning Styles." It
critiques the old, long-discredited anthropological assumptions that males have
better spatial skills as they were the "great hunters" constantly sweeping the
horizon of the savannah (hence bettern spatial skills!) while females were
sticking close to the hearth digging roots and picking berries. Of course, few
anthropologists believe that anymore, and most instead argue that women did
plenty of the "regular" everyday hunting while men hunted mostly for ceremonial
events. Recent sociobiology (and its newest cousin, "evolutionary psychology")
quote the same old tales about sex- role stereotypes to dismiss gender
differences in math and science test scores. We also analyze two schools of
thought on learning styles (Gregoric and Myers-Briggs) to show teachers,
contrary to the common belief, that the underlying learning styles (and
Gardner's multiple intelligences stuff) do NOT claim underlying gender
differences. Lastly, we show how even very recent "science" (published in the
recent prestigious Oxford journal, Brain and Behavior Science) that *still*
proports to "prove" neuro-biological gender differences that explains why girls
just don't to as well in math! (Pretty silly to argue this nowadays since girls
have largely caught up in course- taking and are ahead on math grades, but
still behind in test scores and careers.) Much of the "scientific sexism" on
this topic has poor methodology and tiny samples.

Christy Hammer, Ph.D.
NH Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord NH 03301

new message to this message