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Old 03-20-2012, 06:43 AM   #85
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,056
Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Hi Jackie,

If you're looking for reading, just google Kolb and learning styles -- there's plenty there. In my experience, being trained as a coach in two sports, I encountered this model both times (I've also encountered it in classroom-based teacher training in subjects ranging from high-school-level math to various types of technology). I've found it to be very helpful -- but, as my instructors emphasized, the usefulness of any such model depends on the insight that it gives to you, the teacher, into what you're actually observing in your students. It becomes a lot less helpful when used to label students and make assumptions about their capabilities, because it limits them. You might assess your student as a natural thinker-type learner, and you might have a great method for teaching your subject to a thinker-type learner -- but ultimately, the most successful learners employ strategies of all types. People don't really benefit from scenarios that constantly play to their strengths and keep them within their comfort zone -- it reinforces their current strategies, beliefs, approaches, ways of looking at the world. They become more rigid, less flexible, and less able to deal with a situation that isn't so accommodating.

I don't think that having separate-gender classes instantly creates this kind of ossified learning, and I don't think that it's necessarily a bad idea, but my reasons for doing it would be different than yours. You've repeatedly cited differences in learning styles as the reason for creating separate classes, but in my experience, there are deeper differences in learning styles that are not gender-based. It makes no sense to me to believe that such differences can be accommodated within a single class, but gender-based learning differences merit separate classes.
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