Gender and good language learners

Gender and good language learners

z Gender and good language learners Alex Malfitano z Why Gender? Contributes to factors influencing language and learning Literary practices, tests, self-esteem, styles and strategies all shown to be gendered Teachers all carry socialized views of gender that impact

teaching and judgements Influences how we help parents cope and support children z Biological Gender Females possess more nerve cells in left half of the brain (language center) Females have richer connections between both sides of the brain

Females use more of their brain when listening and speaking Female language centers mature earlier than male z Social Constructs of Gender Culturally and environmentally formed roles Parents talk more often and with more complexity to baby girls Parents encourage more and longer responses from daughters

Qualities women and men should possess in society and classroom influenced by culture z Giving Women the Upper Hand Encourage conversational partners Remember more details Higher consciousness regarding politeness

Value social connection and communicative competence More likely to form groups and connections Interactive learning, authentic language use, communicating meaning Socialized to believe language use will benefit personal and professional life z Academic Culture

Separate study cultures Female: study-oriented, group focused, emotional support, internal motivation flexible learning strategies, communicative strategies Male: independent, career-oriented, next-test focus memorization, repetition, translation Female teachers catering to female students z Implications for Teaching Sensitivity to learning preferences/cultures

Males need: Kinetic, hands-on experiences Clear and goal-oriented assignments Consistent reminders of advantages for language study Encouragement and fostered study groups

Students need: Goals and activities to discover and enhance language learning strategies best for them z Important to Note Much of this data is self-reported and filtered through gendered sense of self-perception Gendered data exists, but does not have great magnitude in variation

Variation may be attributed to personality types before gender Role of gender in language still not well understood Both females and males can be good language learners z Questions and Discussion References: Nyikos, M. (2008). Gender in good language learners. In C. Griffiths (Ed.), Lessons from Good Language Learners (pp.73-82). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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