Thursday, December 1, 2011

Small Study from Africa on Second Language Acquisition and Gender Differences

An interesting study from South Africa that shows that girls out performed boys, on average, on second language acquisition, but that the difference was not statistically significant.  It goes on to say that boys and girls should be no differentiation in the ways boys and girls are taught.
It is good to see articles and research from multiple areas around the world.  No one study though should sway someone one way or another, as educators we need to consider multiple perspectives.
As for me, the higher scores of girls may not be significant, but need to be considered.  Differentiation is not just gender-based, but something based on the students that are in your classroom.  One must see, really see, the students that we teach and bring content and skills to them that matter or present in a way that matter.
For example, today, I was teaching about South Carolina and their participation in the Continental Congress.  Five, wealthy, white, men from the low country (along the coast) who, for the most part, did not want independence from Britain.  As I mentioned earlier, most of my classes, have 66% - 75% females and 90% Hispanic and African-American.  I had to draw out the background of those men going to the Constitutional Congress and the difficulty that was eventually faced as history unfolded.  Further, impressing upon them, and opening up a discussion, on taking advantage of opportunities that they have now ... even considering what might have been the case if the background of the participants were different.

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