For the past several years, there's been a lot of research done on the gender gap among children in math performance. Boys generally tend to do better than girls in math. And boys are more likely to go on to do more math-based careers.
According to a recent story from Medical Daily, new research suggests that this gap can start as early as kindergarten. As earlier research has suggested, this new research provides more evidence for the theory that this gender gap is largely due to teachers having lower math expectations for girls than they do for boys.
By having these lower expectations for girls, it hurts their confidence and makes it more difficult to strive to become better at math.
And I could definitely see how this could potentially be an issue that could prevent girls from excelling in math as much as boys. I mean, there isn’t really any biological reason why this would be the case, so it would have to be something caused by society.
And the answer apparently doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how teachers actually treat girls compared to how they treat boys. The way that it actually works is when teachers merely praise girls for doing basic things like getting the answers correct and writing neatly, it doesn’t do as much to increase their levels of confidence.
So the best thing to do would simply be for schoolteachers to try harder to raise their expectations for girls. There are plenty of girls out there who are great at math. So let’s just try to help give more young girls the confidence needed to get there.
Think of them as people who may someday grow up to have a career that uses math a lot. Apparently, teachers do this with boys a lot more often. So just try to do the same thing for girls. Encourage them to become great.
And according to the original study, mothers of young girls can also help their daughters be more confident with math. Apparently, it’s a good idea for mothers to avoid telling their daughters that they were never any good at math.
I imagine that the problem with this would be that it hurt these girls’ confidence because they would assume that they just might not have the necessary skills in them, either as a girl or just in general. They might just assume that it’s hopeless because they’re just bad at math. But the truth is that all children have the ability within them to succeed at math. It just takes some hard work and some confidence.