“Teachers who are anxious about their own math abilities are translating some of that to their kids,” says University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock who led a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This is the first study to examine what teachers project onto their students, potentially undermining their performance. Women make up 90 percent of elementary school teachers in the United States and what they believe about their own ability can have serious consequences on their female students. Educating female teachers to develop positive math attitudes is essential in helping raise the math abilities of girls.
Research shows girls have just as much math ability as boys and found that girls did better if they lived in countries where many women pursued careers in math and science. This confirms a study done in 2008, which reported that girls score higher on math test in countries where men and women share educational, economic and political equality according
“Yes there are brain differences between men and women, but those can be shaped by culture,” said Dr. Louann Brizendine,” a neurobiologist at the University of California San Francisco.
“Cultural environment seriously impacts brain circuit growth. That is, the structure of your brain depends on everything that happens to you, including feedback from parents, peers and culture in general.”
According to Vitals.com, Dr. Brizendine received her medical degree at Yale University and completed her psychiatric residency at Harvard University.
Is this a case of monkey see-monkey do? Truer then think. According to German scientists rhesus monkeys have been found to be hardwired for simple math. In fact in 2007 Japan’s Kyoto University discovered that young chimpanzees out-perform human adults in tracking numbers and remembering sequencing.
Men have 6.5 times more gray matter in the brain than women, women have 10 times more white matter than men and there is an extraordinary overlap between human and chimpanzee genomes. But despite the differences, given the right situation they are equally able to make things add up. Class is in session!