web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Girls And Numbers: Can They Add Up?


Schonfeld-logo1

Share Button

Chaya had a knack for numbers from when she was young. While baking with her mother as a four year old, Chaya would double recipes easily.

“Mommy, instead of two eggs, you need four. Instead of one cup of flour, you need two. And, put in, I think, three cups of sugar instead of one and a half.”

As she got older, Chaya’s ease with numbers expanded to multiplying her allowance.

“So, Tatti, if I save my $2 allowance for the next two and a half months, that is ten weeks. After ten weeks, I will have $20 and then I will be able to buy Naomi that doll for her birthday.”

In sixth grade, Chaya was the designated banker when her family played Monopoly, helping her siblings figure out how to “unmortgage” their properties if they needed to add 10% to the cost of the mortgage.

“Well, Yossi, your mortgage was $70, and 10% of $70 is $7, so you owe the bank $77.”

But, as Chaya got older, she realized that she was one of the few girls in her class and among her friends who truly liked math. Some of her friends would ask her, “Chaya, boys are so much better at math than girls. How come you are so good at it?”

***

In truth, there is a common misconception that boys are better at math than girls, or that men are better with numbers than women. In fact, this is such a prevalent false impression, that the U.S. Department of Education created a statement to combat that misconception:

Although there is a general perception that men do better than women in math and science, researchers have found that the differences between women’s and men’s math and science-related abilities and choices are much more subtle and complex than a simple “men are better than women in math and science.”

Until recently, the scientific community believed that male-female differences in math and science were caused by biology. In other words, because boys’ and girls’ brains are wired differently, they will automatically do better in different subjects. The notion was that boys have superior spatial abilities, making them better suited for certain mathematical manipulations. Girls, on the other hand, are supposed to be better at language and writing. However, recently, this biological argument has been debunked.

Over the past two decades, researchers have focused on the influence of a child’s environment on his or her math and science achievement. Think about what toys boys and girls are given to play with, even from a very young age. Boys are encouraged, for the most part, to play with blocks, Legos, racing cars, and other moving objects. On the other hand, girls are pushed to play with dolls, toy kitchens, and dress-up clothing. While boys’ toys often involve principles inherent in math and science, girls’ toys focus on imagination and creativity. From these early experiences, it’s easy to understand why girls gravitate to English and history and boys are drawn to math and science.

However, a recent article in October 2011’s edition of Psychological Bulletin reports that after an examination of 1.3 million students, it is clear that males and females have equal math skills. So, aside from the different ways that children play, what accounts for the perception that girls are worse at math than boys?

Interestingly, perhaps it is this stereotype that reinforces the idea. In other words, when parents, teachers, or school counselors believe the stereotype, they are less likely to encourage or support a young girl’s decision to take math and science in high school and beyond. Studies have shown that when parents believe boys are better at math than girls, they are willing to let their daughters drop out of math class when the going gets tough. With sons, however, the same parents will encourage persistence. Jasna Jovanovic of the National Network for Child Care writes, “In the classroom, teachers, often unaware of their own biases, call on boys more, praise boys more for correct answers, and are more likely to ask boys for help in science and math demonstrations. The message girls get is that they are not as good as boys.”

So, what can we do to encourage girls to excel in math based on their natural abilities?

1. Choose toys thoughtfully. Encourage your daughters to play with building toys and support your boys in imaginative play. Both the left and right sides of your child’s brains will grow from these alternative types of play. Break free from stereotypes and expand your child’s horizons.

2. Talk to your child’s teacher. Find out what your child is doing in math and science at school. Does your child come home excited about fun experiments in school? If not, maybe you can do some fun science experiments at home: cook up a volcano, shine some pennies in vinegar, or make your own rock candy. These fun activities will inspire your children to become more involved in science.

3. Promote math and science courses in high school. Competitive colleges want to see students who took advanced math and science courses – don’t let your daughters shy away from these classes. Who knows what kinds of strengths they are simply unaware of?

4. Avoid stereotypes. Let your children know that both boys and girls can excel in math. Confidence is integral to success.

5. Provide strong role models. If the mother in the family does not feel comfortable with math, then look towards other females who are mathematically or scientifically inclined. Giving your daughters and sons role models to look up to will allow them to believe that both men and women can succeed.

Today, women can have any job they want: accountants, doctors, lawyers, financial analysts, psychologists, and many more. With so many opportunities available to women and men, why should we pigeonhole our sons and daughters into categories based on gender? Let’s continue to level the playing field so girls like Chaya can have all the opportunities open to them!

Share Button

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Girls And Numbers: Can They Add Up?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kansas, the school attended by 14-year-old shooting victim Reat Griffin Underwood.
Kansas Shooting Suspect a White Supremacist, Indicted for Murder
Latest Sections Stories
Tali Hill, a beneficiary of the Max Factor Family Foundation.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas’s deans, Rabbi Moshe Katz and Rabbi Zev Goldman, present award to Educator of the Year, Rabbi Michoel Paris.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

Your husband seems to have experienced what we have described as the Ambivalent Attachment.

The goal of the crusade is to demonize and hurt Israel.

The JUMP program at Hebrew Academy was generously sponsored by Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

Schonfeld-logo1

The key to kindness and acceptance is empathy. A lot of people argue that you cannot teach empathy. While I agree that it is difficult to teach empathy, I believe it is possible.

By multiple intelligences, we mean that people have different intelligences in different areas.

Explosiveness is not confined to a type or a gender. It comes in male and female children, and in all ages, shapes and sizes. Some blow up dozens of times a day, others just a few times a week. Some “lose it” only at home, others only in school, and still others in any conceivable location.

The truth is that you never know what’s going on in a house until you live in it.

Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?

Shimon quickly shoveled a forkful of rice into his mouth, while attempting to scribble the right math equations into his workbook. “(2 x 34 -11)2” he said between mouthfuls. “Mommy, I got some rice on my paper, but I have to finish this before it is time to go in the shower,” Shimon choked out.

First, it is important to establish a diagnosis for your child. Perhaps his struggles with reading are associated with ADHD or a processing disorder.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/girls-and-numbers-can-they-add-up/2013/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: