Boys compete to solve problems quickly, while girls converse in an Arkansas elementary school that offers all-boy and all-girl classes in fifth grade.
Boys sit at clusters of desks in Pam Longâ€™s fifth-grade classroom, forming teams that race to answer questions and complete math drills.
In a typical classroom, the boys are asked to sit calmly in desks, complete story problems and answer questions after raising their hands. But speed, enthusiasm and competition get the pupils in Longâ€™s all-boys class motivated to learn and to participate, she said.
. . . (Monitor Elementary School) has three fifth-grade classrooms. In the girls-only room, pupils use a natural drive for conversation to discuss assignments, unhindered by the watching eyes of boys. Long focuses on competition in her boys-only room, while a third teacher leads a typical class that absorbs additional pupils of either sex who come throughout the year.
Researcher Sara Mead warns that “boy-friendly” teaching can mean lowering standards.