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ERIC Number: EJ819744
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jul
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 78
ISSN: ISSN-1366-4530
Starting School--Why Girls Are Already Ahead of Boys
Whitehead, Joan M.
Teacher Development, v10 n2 p249-270 Jul 2006
Drawing on a number of fields of educational research this article argues that girls come to school better prepared to meet its demands than boys. Parents encourage different skills in their children, as a result girls have more sophisticated communication skills, and are more likely to have been encouraged to participate in intellectual tasks than boys, who have been mainly encouraged to engage in sports and physical activities. These differences mean that girls more readily "engage" with school and show intrinsic motivation for academic tasks, factors strongly associated with success. Boys, however, are more likely to find schoolwork unfamiliar and difficult. Once in school the single-sex peer groups favoured by both sexes provide opportunities to improve the skills learnt at home to the further advantage of girls. Differences in attitudes to gender roles are also apparent at an early age, boys being much more conforming to stereotypical gender roles than girls, who show much more sex-role flexibility. This conformity may lead boys further away from engaging with school tasks either through "fear of the feminine" or "fear of failure". Finally the article considers how schools can help all pupils, particularly boys, to fully engage with schoolwork. (Contains 1 note.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)