Boy, what a difference

By Moira MacDonald - TorontoSun.com

Marks are up, misbehaving is down when girls aren't in the classroom

She was a kind-faced principal, on the verge of retirement and clearly loved kids. I was visiting her for a story about crumbling school buildings. We'd finished the tour of her school and were chatting on the bench outside her office, the same one the misbehaving students (mostly boys) sat on.

She leaned toward me and said, "You know, the schools aren't made for boys, they're made for girls."

She is not the only educator who has said that. Some parents make the same comment. Elementary schools work better for girls. Girls tend to be more social, more eager to please and have a much better ability to sit at a desk, be quiet and at least look like they're paying attention. Boys have more energy and don't sit still as well.

Sound sexist? You might want to have it out with the human brain first. Research shows male and female brains are hardwired differently. And those differences show up early -- for one thing, female brains develop faster, especially in the area where language is processed.

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