Villa Maria Academy and St. Aloysius Academy were delighted to welcome Dr. Leonard Sax, a highly acclaimed American psychologist, family doctor and New York Times best-selling author to St. Aloysius Academy today to speak with the faculty and staff of both schools during a professional development seminar. Dr. Sax is an impressive speaker and passionately believes that girls and boys should be taught separately.
Much of Dr. Sax’s work focuses on how best to navigate the ever-changing challenges faced by today’s children. Dr. Sax, author of Why Gender Matters, spoke to teachers about what they need to know about the emerging science of sex differences and what makes a great teacher of girls/boys.
Recent research has demonstrated hardwired sex differences in how girls and boys see and hear, and in the trajectories of brain development. These differences have significant implications for best practice in the girls’ classroom and in the boys’ classroom. We consider some of these differences, with attention to how teachers have used these differences to engage their students. When teachers understand these hardwired differences, they are better able to boost motivation for every student, in every content area. Conversely: the lack of understanding of gender differences has the unintended consequence of reinforcing gender stereotypes, with the result that boys think poetry is for girls, and girls think computer coding is for boys.
Teachers of both schools then broke out into workshops with Dr. Sax where he continued to give more thought-provoking talks. With the faculty and staff of Villa Maria, he focused on the characteristics of a great teacher of girls. Dr. Sax discussed that the most effective teacher of girls 1) knows how to create and nurture the relationship between teacher and student, and 2) deploys gender-aware instructional strategies for the content areas. The group then explored examples provided by teachers at girls’ schools who have been successful in boosting motivation and achievement for every girl.
Dr. Sax’s books include Girls on the Edge, Why Gender Matters, Boys Adrift and The Collapse of Parenting.