Journey to Excellence


gender - (n) the behavioral, cultural, and psychological traits typically associated with one sex

While sex refers to the biological differences between male and female, gender refers to differences between these two groups on an emotional and mental level. Contrasts between the sexes are evident in many facets of growth and development, including how students approach learning. Gender differences also affect the way the two groups interact with one another at school and how they relate to teachers of the opposite or same sex. Such differences can have significant impact on the student learning.

Many studies on gender differences at school have shown some interesting results. For instance, in many studies it is not uncommon to find educators inadvertently favoring males in class, thus negatively impacting females. Such teacher behavior at a time when adolescent female’s developing sense of self-worth is most vulnerable will likely affect academic achievement. It is very helpful for the educator to have a thorough understanding of child/adolescent development in order to create the optimum educational environment for student learning. However, educators must always take care to not excuse or explain away individual student learning issues in stereotyped generalities.

Understanding gender differences in growth and development and its impact on learning, should not obscure the unique needs of individual students. At the same time, some individual needs may signal a student’s confusion about sexual expression or orientation, or it may be the result of many more complex issues.


Checkley, K. (January 1996). Reducing gender bias in school. Education Update. 38 (1).

This article focuses on the struggle of females in the academic arena. However, hope is expressed about the change that can occur in academics if some effort is taken.

Grant, C. A. & Sleeter, C. (2003). Turning on learning: Five approaches for multicultural teaching plans for race, class, gender, and disability. NY: Jossey-Bass.

Gurian, M. (2001). Boys and girls learn differently!: a guide for teachers and parents. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

These two companion books propose that brain differences between boys and girls call for different teaching strategies. The action guide presents learning techniques teachers can use to enrich the curriculum and accommodate gender differences at various developmental stages.

McGee Bailey, Susan. “Shortchanging Girls and Boys.” Educational Leadership May 1996: 75-79.

Pollard, D. S. “Perspectives on Gender.” Educational Leadership May 1996: 72-74.

Singh, M. (1998). Gender issues in the language arts classroom. contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED426409

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