Brain Functions of Male and Female Children in Education

BrainFunctions of Male and Female Children in Education

BrainFunctions of Male and Female Children in Education

Neurosciencestudy has expanded swiftly over the last four decades with theapplication of a more sophisticated and accurate sensitive imagingtechniques to study the brain (Magon,2009).Such studies have played a big role in helping in the understandingof how the human brain develops and function. Nonetheless, thetremendous strides made in the field of neuroscience, the diffusionof brain study results into the turf of education has been ratherslow, hampered by the dearth of interaction between social sciencesand hard sciences. As such, within the education field the awarenessof brain study and its likely repercussions for the pedagogy remainsscant (Wilson&amp Horch, 2002).Studies that have shown that boys as well as girls learn and think indifferent ways have persuaded some academic institutions to rethinkthe nature of the existing education system. This paper will seek todiscuss how the brain of male and female students function, takinginto consideration different morphological, functional and structuralvariations between male and female brains.

StructuralGender Differentiation

Extensiveresearch on brain have given way to sizeable information on thegender interrelated structural variance. It is now a known fact thatvariance in the morphology of the cerebral for boys and girls startin the womb, and are somewhat permanent after the foetus in 26 weeksold (Achironetal,2001).These difference in the structure of the brain is not influenceor affected by the hormonal component as young boys and girls mature,neither are they are they influenced by inherent racial differences.Gender variation in the brain structure include aspects relating tothickness variations, cerebral volume (men (boys) normally havelarger brain), cerebral size and variations in white and grey matter(Azarietal.2005).

Diagram1: Gendervariation in the Brain Structure


FunctionalGender Differentiation

Thefunctioning process of the brains is connected to though differentfrom its morphological structure. A huge array of functional brainvariations in has been acknowledged between sexes. Studies on thephysiology of the human brain have shown that the brain of a femalehas the ability to metabolize simple sugars such as glucose at aelevated rate and experiences higher blood flow than the brain ofmales (Magon,2009).

Manyyears of psychometric testing, imaging techniques and observationshas shown that, The female brains process speech faster than males,while males performance is superior to females in spatial mechanicalactivities and gross motor tasks (Magon,2009).This has been used as the evidence for the explanation why girls dobetter than boys in writing and reading, and also thereasons why boys tend to incline towards video games and physicalactivities. Education scholars affirm that specific skills arebasically more hardwired in the brain, though most acknowledge thatextensive training and practices can alter the brain capacity andcapability to process different tasks (Azarietal.2005).In this regard it is important to note that while discussing thefunctional differences between male and female brains, the concept ofneuroplasticity which denotes the ability to be trained should not beforgotten.

Imagingtechniques have also revealed that there are captivating symmetryvariations between the brain of a boy and a girl. Popularmisconceptions have viewed males as being more right handed whilefemales as being more left handed. In this scenario right handedsignifies objectivity and logical reasoning while left handed standsfor emotional, instinctive and creative. Nevertheless, the malebrains normally perform tasks and process information with greaterasymmetricality in relation to the more symmetrical processing asevidenced in the female brains, though in some cases there areexceptions due to environmental factors (Achironetal,2001).

Theasymmetric activity of the male brain enables men to have greateractivation magnitudes when performing different tasks. In addition,the greater activation magnitude can also explain the reason why boysare able to compartmentalize learning more easily than girls, andare also able to focus on a single pleasurable task, such as computerprogramming for extended durations than girls (Azarietal.2005)..Furthermore, the superior area activation magnitude is also behindthe fact that males experience immense difficulties in recuperatingfrom particular types of brain injuries that affect such areas. Onthe other hand, studies has shown girls to display greater overallinter-hemisphere symmetry, and hence are able to use both halves oftheir brain to process definite tasks (Magon,2009). Difference in activation symmetry between male and femalesoffer evidence that boys and girls think in different ways and applydifferent brain areas to process the same physical and mental tasks. Cognitive scholars theorize that greater brain symmetry activationgive explanation why females, though debatably are viewed asmulti-askers and their ability to connect issues and conceptstogether (Achironetal,2001).This offer evidence for females’ ability to transition fasterbetween lessons in relation to boys in the same age bracket. Thefigure below demonstrates this occurrence.

Diagram2: Females’Ability to Transition during Lessons


Diagram2 showing Magnetic Resonance Imaging activation results for 5 boysdisplayed in the upper row and 5 girls displayed in the bottom row.As can be seen from the diagram boys display asymmetric activationwhile girls display symmetric lobe activation. The corpus callosumhemisphere conduit has been linked closely with the two-sided brainprocessing. The thickness and shape of the white matter is differentin males and females, and women have a relative thicker white mattercompared to men. This phenomenon is illustrated by the diagram A andB below. In diagram B it is evidence that females possess greatercorpus callosum activation. The greater callosum breadth has alsobeen said to contribute to better communication between the right andleft brain hemisphere in the brain of the female. Below is thediagram of corpus callosum.

Diagram3: CorpusCallosum

Sideview Topview

(Choudhury&amp Blakemore, 2006)

Inthe modern world it is common belief that males and females haveequal intelligence. Nonetheless, studies by scholars in theneuroscience field have revealed that while boys and girls maypossess equal intelligence capability, they depend on different partof the cerebral structures and alleyway to complete a specific task(Choudhury&amp Blakemore, 2006).These researches have also indicated that there is no knownfunctional or structural arrangement manifest as general astuteness(Magon,2009). To a certain extent general intelligence is composed of anassortment of structural and functional units that are applied withvarying skill to perform a certain task (dendrites in human brain).Gender only influences which parts of the human brain are availableand the straightforwardness of applying those parts (Diamond, 2001).The diagram below indicates the appearance of dendrites.

Diagram4: Appearanceof Dendritesin Rats

A:Showdendrite of a healthy rat

Band C: showdendrite of a rat in an enriched environment

Eand F: showdendrites of a rat in a impoverished environment

Thereare specific activities and tasks that are relatively easier for onegender and a bit daunting for the other gender, though experience andintensive training can improve the use of mental faculties. Forexample, male’s higher spatial mechanical capacity and greatervisual cortex accord them a performance edge over their femalecounterparts (Diamond,2001).An excellent example is the case of video gaming where men have aperformance advantage over women. However, it has also beenrecognized that girls who participate in such games regularly canoutsmart boys who do not have a chance of playing such gamesfrequently (Diamond,2001).

GenderDifferences in Development of Brain Structure

Variouscross sectional and longitudinal studies of young children using theMagnetic Resonance Imaging has shown that there are immensevariations in the quantities of grey matter and white matter amongboys and girls within the same age structure. This scientific processapplies large magnetic field to construct 3-dimension images of thehuman brain (Denckla &amp Cutting, 2006). Even though there is aconsiderable surge in the quantities (volume) of white in males withage, no substantial volumetric variations are found in girls. Boyshave a extensively higher grey matter volume with girls within thesame age bracket (Choudhury&amp Blakemore, 2006). Belowis a diagram showing the connection between volume of white matterand age among boys and girls.

Diagram5: Connectionbetween Volume of White Matter and Age among Boys and Girls


Inthis diagram, it is clear that, a substantial linear link existsbetween age and quantities of white matter.

Implicationsand Applications for Schools

Itis clear from the aforementioned that females and males havecognitive and brain tissue differences. In the education settingcerebral gender dimorphism is of paramount pedagogical importancesince it affects how boys and girls behave, learn and think. Whilethe manner in which the school setting and environment affect eachperson is different, it cannot be said that males and females areopposites in their learning styles (Magon,2009 Choudhury&amp Blakemore, 2006).

TheEducation of Boys and Girls

Resultsposted by the Programme for International Students Assessmentillustrate that boys in all the states lag substantially behind girlsin most of the subjects taught at both the elementary and high schooleducation, with the exceptions of hard science and mathematics(Magon,2009 Peterek,2007).However, this does not connote that success should be equal betweengirls and boys, but wider performance variations signify systemiceducational deficiency. Statistics in many developed nations showthat the rate of boy’s drops out of school is higher than girls(Wahlstrom,2002).For example in Canada it is 15% compared to 9% for girls .

Toredress this setback research has recommended a caution about thebrain capacity and perimeter of neuroplasticity. Scientific knowledgehas shown that human brains develop thicker neuron connection andgreater dendrites link with learning (Diamond,2001).This means that with enough practice, both genders can enlargecapacity and develop strength that do not appear effortlessly totheir gender. Even so, it is worth acknowledging that the brain ofhuman beings is not plastic-it is not possible to alter the brain ofa boy into the brain of a girl. As such, it has become important tostrive to have room for gender variations (Magon,2009).Theunderlying principle behind the difficulty experienced by boys intransitioning between one subject or topic and another is thought tobe their greater asymmetric brain activity. In this regard tutors arecalled upon to stick on one main idea per given duration to give roomfor boy’s brain to switch modes (Azarietal.2005).In the same vein for boys past the elementary level it is apt to usea semester arrangement than the linear system, as this fewer switchesduring the day and les number of subjects in the course of the week.Some aspects such as increasing the school hours into the morning hasbeen identified to have upbeat impacts on both genders academicperformance, attendance rates and attention during the teaching hours(Denckla &amp Cutting, 2006 Wilson &amp Horch, 2002).

Theconnection between academic performance and focus in the classroomare simple to establish. One of the main reasons why boys constituteabout two thirds of the learning disability is pegged on thephysiology of their brain which compared to girl’s has inferiorattention span, hence they normally find it intricate to sit down inthe classroom as well as pay attention to the teacher (Magon,2009 Choudhury&amp Blakemore, 2006).To sustain and maintain their focus, bys need to be accorded morecavities for mobility in the class (Denckla &amp Cutting, 2006).This can be attained through leaving larger space between theirlockers and desks so that they have room to swing out their arms andstretching their legs. In reality such trivial but importantactivities are normally unconscious in boys and can serve to augmenttheir focus on the topic through employing their spatial mechanicalquarters of their brain (Magon,2009). Just like boys girls brains is structured in way that itrequires opportunities to create bonds and cultivate schoolownership. They also gain immense benefits by painting and bedeckingthe wall. Nonetheless, it is paramount that activities in theclassroom and education objectives are connected to real lifescenarios (Wilson &amp Horch, 2002).

Thegreater quantities of oxytocin in their body and as such bonding andcreating relationships come with ease to girls than to boys.Performing tasks together improves the cortical language areas oftheir brains and consequently strengthen their listening skills(Denckla &amp Cutting, 2006).

ScientificFindings: The Girls Brain

Thebrain of girls is functional, structurally and physiological suchthat:

  • Girls have fewer concentration span difficulties and as such can make quick transitions across topics, subjects and conversations.

  • By age of 16 girl’s corpus callosum is 25% bigger than that of boys. This is made up of a network of neurons that transmit impulse across two parts of their brain. Consequently this enables them viaduct (crosstalk) between the right brain hemisphere as well as the left brain hemisphere. This is the main reason why girls find it relatively easier to multitask than boys (McBride, 2010).

  • Girls brain has sturdy neuron network that create superior listening skills, more comprehensive memory storage space and enhanced discrimination among tones of voice.

  • Their brain prefrontal cortex grows and develops earlier and becomes bigger than boys. A large portion of the cortex is therefore dedicated to verbal functioning (Buckner et al, 2005).

  • Girl’s brains receive 15% more blood flow than that of boys (Azari et al. 2005).

  • Their brain has wider hippocampus and sturdy neuron connection that allows for greater use of the sensory memory facet in writing and talking.

  • Girls possess serotonin and make less impulsive choices than boys (McBride, 2010).

Onthe other hand the boy’s brain is channeled in way such that:

  • Spatial mechanical functioning predisposes boys to ant to move objects in their environment, including their legs and hands.

  • They have low quantities of oxytocin and serotonin that makes them more impulsive (Gurian, &amp Stevens, 2005).

  • Have a wider area of their cortex dedicated for spatial –mechanical functioning and a significant portion to emotive and verbal functioning.

  • Advanced studies have also shown that boy apply the primitive portion of the cerebral cortex of their brain to perform task that girls use the advanced portion of their brain (Gurian, &amp Stevens, 2005).

  • The brain of the male gender is best suited for pictures and symbols. As a result boys normally perform better than girls in hard sciences and mathematics. In addition this is the main reason why boys prefer video games and other activities that require physical movement and destruction.

  • Boy’s brain is structured in way that it slumps into rest states where it recharges and gains new orientation. Girls require to go into sleep to achieve this (Gurian, &amp Stevens, 2005).

  • The brains of the male gender have less blood flow and are inclined to compartmentalize learning

  • The portion of their brain that is linked with negative emotions develops slowly and remains stuck in the amygdale. This makes an adolescent boy response to negative emotions similar to that of a girl aged 6 (Gurian, &amp Stevens, 2005).

  • In the classroom setting the more words used by the tutor in the teaching process the higher the chances a boy will quit listening.


Recentfindings of the functioning and cerebral structural differencesbetween boys and girls show that both genders are wired differentlyfor learning in an education setting. These variations havesubstantial effects for educational institutions and pedagogy.Numerous gender specific techniques have been suggested by manyscholars to teaching girls and boys, encompassing methodologies thatintegrate scientific finding in the field of neuroscience. Scientificresearch has shown that enjoyment of topic, attention in class andengagement among boys and girls call for use of different methodsthat allow their brain to process tasks and events with ease. Forexample, Manyyears of psychometric testing, imaging techniques and observationshas shown that, The female brains process speech faster than males,while males performance is superior to females in spatial mechanicalactivities and gross motor tasks. the male brains normally performtasks and process information with greater asymmetricality inrelation to the more symmetrical processing as evidenced in thefemale brains, though in some cases there are exceptions due toenvironmental factors. Variouscross sectional and longitudinal studies of young children using theMagnetic Resonance Imaging has shown that there are immensevariations in the quantities of grey matter and white matter amongboys and girls within the same age structure. In education settingcerebral gender dimorphism is of paramount pedagogical importancesince it affects how boys and girls behave, learn and think.Scientificknowledge has shown that human brains develop thicker neuronconnection and greater dendrites link with learning This means thatwith enough practice, both genders can enlarge capacity and developstrength that do not appear effortlessly to their gender.


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