The Difference Between Teaching Boys and Girls

It’s fascinating to study psychology and try to gain a deeper understanding of our design and how it contributes to various areas of life. Earlier this year, I came across a short book titled, In God’s Image After All, after hearing the author speak at a seminar. It was so interesting and got me to thinking about all sorts of different concepts and how they are relevant to me as a teacher.

Several weeks ago I came across this post by Chad Twedt called, Why Gender Matters in Music Performance Anxiety. Perhaps because of his reference to the book, Why Gender Matters, I was also reminded of a workshop I attended by Andrew Pudewa – a violinist and educator – who also referenced this book in his session. His workshop title was even more attention-grabbing, though: Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day. Anyone else have students like that? 🙂

While not everyone fits the stereotypical male/female characteristics, there is so much to be gleaned and applied from these studies that are willing to dig a little deeper into human design and acknowledge that there are differences inherent of the two sexes. This observation from Chad seems all too true in my studio most of the time:

“Boys think they’ve practiced enough when they really haven’t, and girls think they haven’t practiced enough when they really have. Consequently, girls will tend to prepare more carefully and thoroughly for a performance than boys.”

And I have to say that I personally found this comment rather amusing:

“Then I remembered something else from the third chapter of Why Gender Matters: boys tend to overestimate their abilities, while girls tend to underestimate them. This is certainly at least a partial reason why there are slightly more females than males in the world: less females die of sheer stupidity each year.”

I think that being aware of some of these underlying differences will be helpful in knowing how to more effectively teach practice skills and performance preparation. And I think this will be my new motto for all my male students:

“Risk-taking is only a good thing if it’s supported by an appropriate level of skill.”

Think they’ll go for that?! 🙂

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