Source: The Mercury, 21 April, 1997, p.7
By FRANK ZELLER in London TEENAGE girls can concen- trate more than three times longer than boys, according to a new study on academic per- formance in British high schools. While the average boy will become distracted from an in- dependent task after only four minutes, girls have an atten- tion span of 13 minutes, re- searchers have found. The nine-minute gap helps explain why girls now out- perform boys in virtually all high school examinations in Britain. The researchers found that most girls happily worked on their own when asked to do so by their teachers, while boys tended to become distracted within minutes. But boys achieved much bet- ter results where the teacher took a leading role and actively involved them in the learning process, according to the book to be published in the United Kingdom this week, Can Boys Do Better? One of the authors, former headmaster Peter Downes warned the decline in male academic performance had to be halted with a new approach to teaching. "Everybody has come to terms with the fact that boys are doing less well than they should," he said. "If we pretend the problem is not there, we are in danger of producing generations of dis- affected young males for whom the education process is debilitating." A changing job market was increasingly challenging boys to learn "feminine skills" as traditional manual jobs were replaced by more technology. "The need for men to be strong and physical - the hunter and provider - is greatly reduced," Mr Downes said. "Although the male still has his biological function, we have got to feminise the male, in a way, to give him a new role in the world of the future."
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Inference
Main Index - Numeracy in the News