Boys and Girls Learn Language Differently

02/07/2014

Something many of us already suspected. Reblogged from:

neuronet

http://neuronetlearning.com/blog/boys-and-girls-learn-language-differently/


Cultures intersect in new book ‘Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky’

14/07/2012

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Published: July 13, 2012 Updated 20 hours ago
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Two Jewish sisters, Sarah, above, and Frances Myers, owned Arnold’s, a high fashion women’s clothing store that operated in Hopkinsville for more than 50 years.

Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity

By Nora Rose Moosnick. University Press of Kentucky. 208 pp. $40.

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Book looks at the lives of Kentucky women of Jewish and Arab descent

By Paul Prather — Contributing Faith Writer

Nora Rose “Rosie” Moosnick spent five years working on her new book, Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity (University Press of Kentucky, 208 pages, $40), which chronicles women of Arab or Jewish ancestry who’ve lived in the commonwealth.

Kentucky often is “maligned and stereotyped” as a place not open to ethnic or religious minorities, said Moosnick, who teaches part time at the University of Kentucky.

The facts, she says, tell a different — and more complex — tale: “Unexpected populations live here, and our stories are by and large ones of success. But they’re also complicated stories.”

Five years is a long time on any creative project. But to Moosnick, 47, a Lexington native, her research never became ho-hum.

“It’s my identity, so it’s my passion,” she said.

The granddaughter of a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, Moosnick grew up in Lexington. Through her father, a professor at Transylvania University, she met and still maintains a close friendship with a family of Palestinian Christians who also had settled in this area.

“It sort of just became my life,” Moosnick, below, said of her cross-cultural experiences.

Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky profiles 10 women, including Teresa Isaac, who is of Lebanese Christian descent. Isaac grew up in Eastern Kentucky, where her family owned elegant movie theaters and other businesses. She was mayor of Lexington from 2002 to 2006.

She’s proud of her Arab heritage and of her Appalachian roots as well.

“Arab-Americans and the people of Eastern Kentucky shared a love of family and a strong work ethic,” she said in an email. “We felt right at home in the mountains.”

The book also includes Manar Shalash, a Palestinian Muslim who came to America as a young bride and has since joined with various family members in Lexington to run a grocery, a Subway restaurant and, currently, a cellphone company — while negotiating the challenges of raising four children.

Like Shalash, many of the women have played important roles in family businesses.

Two Jewish sisters, Sarah and Frances Myers, owned Arnold’s, a high-fashion women’s clothing store in Hopkinsville. They dressed Frances Breathitt for her husband Ned’s inauguration as governor.

“Arnold’s was like a Saks Fifth Avenue but in this little country town,” the sisters’ nephew, Howard Myers, recalls in the book.

Despite notoriety and connections, the sisters struggled in Hopkinsville.

They never married. While more traditional (and Christian) women attended local churches on Sundays with their husbands and children, the Myerses held cocktail parties around their swimming pool, attended by single women with “society ties” — who, Moosnick writes, “didn’t fit prescribed models of femininity.”

The Myerses were from Mississippi originally but always viewed themselves as big-city people. They longed to retire someday to a metropolis such as New York.

“They would tell their nephew, ‘Howard, (we) don’t want to die in Hopkinsville,'” Moosnick said.

She writes: “It might have been that the rural stage was too confining for them, or maybe appearances mattered too much. Whatever the cause, the result was an intricate backstage existence that involved financial strains, mental illness, and the interplay of family dynamics, Judaism, and relationships with other women.”

Another challenge faced by some women Moosnick studied: Jews, Arab Christians and Arab Muslims view themselves as distinct groups, but their Kentucky neighbors frequently confuse them with one another — and even get them mixed up with immigrants from other parts of the world.

Jews and Arabs often look very much alike, Moosnick said. They tend to have “similar names, like Isaac, Abraham.”

She writes that one woman always wore a highly visible cross so people would understand that, even though she was an Arab, she wasn’t a Muslim.

Shalash, a Muslim, said even other Arabs have misidentified her.

“I get a lot of people think that I’m Hispanic, Mexican,” she tells Moosnick. “I got a lady today. She’s from Iraq, and she goes, ‘You look Italian.'”

In an interview for this article, Shalash said she and her family feel greatly blessed to be in the United States. The Palestinian Territories has been wracked by social and political turmoil that might have made her children’s lives much more stressful.

“This life is a little bit easier to live,” she said. “It was easier to raise them here.”

But she’s faced the same dilemmas as other American parents.

“I tried my best to take care of the kids more than take care of the business,” she said.

Despite those efforts, sometimes she spent more time working than she meant to, and felt guilty.

It’s also been challenging to imbue her children with an appreciation for Arabic language and background, and to maintain contact with family overseas.

That’s why she’s arranged regular trips back home.

“So we don’t lose each other,” she said. “We’ll always be connected.”

Paul Prather is pastor of Bethesda Church near Mount Sterling. You may email him at pratpd@yahoo.com.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/13/2257399/cultures-intersect-in-new-book.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy


Girls Report Higher Math Anxiety Than Boys, Study Finds

14/07/2012

Something to think about in teaching and testing:
source

By Erik Robelen on July 10, 2012 10:12 AM

New research from England finds that girls show higher levels of mathematics anxiety than boys, and that this distress is related to diminished performance on math tests. Even so, the study found no gender differences in math achievement, with the researchers suggesting that girls may well have outperformed boys were it not for their anxiety.

I found this research especially interesting, given that just recently I examined a mix of assessment data suggesting that, at least in the United States, girls trail boys in both math and science achievement. One possible reason cited for the apparent STEM achievement gap is “stereotype threat,” an anxiety that occurs when people feel they may be judged by a negative stereotype. Some research suggests this anxiety can lead to worse performance on tests.

The new study by researchers from Oxford and Cambridge universities examined 433 British secondary school children (ages 11 to 16). They were given separate questionnaires to report math anxiety (and test anxiety), and then took custom-made math tests intended to be suitable for their age range and fitted to the content of their school curriculum.

Although both boys and girls reported experiencing anxiety, the study found that girls on average showed higher levels of it. And in one difference from most other research, the researchers say, they sought to control for more general test anxiety.

The study was published online yesterday in the journal, Behavior and Brain Functions.

The researchers defined math anxiety as “a state of discomfort caused by performing mathematical tasks [that] can be manifested as feelings of apprehension, dislike, tension, worry, frustration, and fear.”

The study says math anxiety warrants attention in the classroom, and that prior research suggests that it first develops during the primary school years. The researchers also note that prior research has indicated that math anxiety may well discourage some individuals from pursuing advanced studies and careers in math-related fields.

For more about the study of math anxiety, check out this recent EdWeek story by my colleague Sarah Sparks.

Also, a recent EdWeek Commentary examines the issue of math anxiety and timed math tests. In fact, it’s generated quite a debate in the comments section below the commentary.
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STEM Gender Gap Pronounced in U.S.

14/07/2012

We are still faced with this topic, even in the 21st century! Read on for details:

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By Erik W. Robelen

When the gender gap in STEM education is discussed, it usually centers on the lower proportion of women pursuing college majors and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

But some recent data suggest STEM achievement disparities persist at the K-12 level, based on results from the Advanced Placement program as well as national and global exams.

And yet, what may be true for the United States is not necessarily so around the world. In some instances, international averages on global exams tell a different story, with either no measurable gender difference in math and science scores or girls outpacing boys.

How to interpret the U.S. data is a conundrum, some experts say.

“This is a bit of an unexplained phenomenon,” said Martin Storksdieck, the director of the National Research Council’s Board on Science Education. “My sense is that these differences are potentially a question of the kinds of tests we have, and the kinds of self-confidence people have, and expectations they have, rather than an innate difference or potentially stronger preparation that boys may have over girls.”

The gender achievement gaps are far smaller than those seen for low-income, black, and Hispanic students. But they are evident across a number of measures.

Take the AP program. In all 10 STEM subjects currently taught and tested, including chemistry, physics, calculus, and computer science, the average scores of females lagged behind males, according to data for the class of 2011.

Trevor Packer, the senior vice president of AP and college readiness at the College Board, said his New York City-based organization is concerned about the data.

“It’s significant whenever you see different populations, … whether different by region or gender or ethnicity, perform at different levels,” he said.
Against the Global Grain?

In fact, the College Board recently commissioned a study to examine one possible factor, known as “stereotype threat.” This anxiety is believed to occur when individuals in a certain population group, such as racial and ethnic minorities or females, face a situation in which they may be judged by a negative stereotype. Some research suggests that can diminish performance on assessments, especially high-stakes tests.

Recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicate some gender gaps, mainly in science.

The latest science data, for 2011, show 8th grade boys outscoring girls by 5 points on NAEP’s 0-300 scale for the subject. Only 8th graders were tested that year. Looked at another way, 37 percent of boys scored “proficient” or above, compared with 29 percent of females.

Science data for 2009 show average scores for girls trailed boys at all three grade levels tested. The NAEP gap widened for older students, from 2 points at 4th grade to 4 points at 8th grade and 6 points at 12th.

Going back to 1996, NAEP data show a fairly consistent pattern of girls trailing boys, though the gap size has varied.

In math, 2011 NAEP resultsRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader show boys performing only slightly better on average, with a difference of just 1 point at the 4th and 8th grades on the 0-500 scale. (The difference was statistically significant.)

In looking beyond the U.S. border, the issue of STEM achievement by gender gets more complex.

Boys—on average—outperformed girls in math across the 34-member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based on the most recent data, in 2009, from the Program for International Student Assessment. PISA gauges 15-year-olds. In science, there was no measurable gender gap on average across the OECD nations.

PISA results for American students show lower average scores for girls than boys in math and science. In fact, the U.S. gaps were among the largest of any countries tested, an OECD report says.

In science, the biggest gaps favoring boys were in the United States and Denmark. Girls outscored boys in Finland, Greece, Poland, Slovenia, and Turkey.

Data from another global assessment suggest girls generally enjoy an achievement edge in math and science when averaging results across the 58 participating nations and jurisdictions, but not in the United States. That outcome is for the latest round, in 2007, of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.

In science, the global TIMSS average was higher for girls than boys at the 4th and 8th grades, according to an analysis by Boston College. By contrast, U.S. boys scored higher than girls at the 8th grade. At the 4th grade, U.S. boys scored higher, but the gender gap was not statistically significant.

For math, the global average for girls was higher at the 8th grade, but for U.S. students, the gender gap was not statistically significant. At the 4th grade, there was no statistical difference in the global average by gender, but American boys outscored girls on TIMSS.

The global data seem to cast doubt on the notion that innate differences between males and females help explain the U.S. situation.

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A 2007 report from the National Academies plays down the significance of innate gender differences, as well as differences on achievement tests, in affecting females’ ability to excel in the STEM fields.

“Research shows that the measured cognitive and performance differences between men and women are small and in many cases nonexistent,” it says. “Furthermore, measurements of mathematics- and science-related skills are strongly affected by cultural factors.”
Higher GPAs

Andresse St. Rose, a senior researcher at the Washington-based American Association of University Women, says not all K-12 STEM data point in the same direction.

“Girls actually take slightly more math and science credits than boys do, on average,” she said, “and they actually earn slightly higher grade point averages, but when you get to the AP exams, for example, you see the boys doing a little better.”

She still sees reason for concern and believes stereotype threat may be an important issue.

“All of us really need to examine our thinking and our beliefs and our behavior around different genders,” she said. “Do we really encourage girls to do all the things that boys are encouraged to do?”

Coverage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education is supported by a grant from the Noyce Foundation, at http://www.noycefdn.org.

Vol. 31, Issue 36, Pages 8-9
Related Stories

“Girls Have Edge With Hands-On Science Tasks, NAEP Suggests,” (Curriculum Matters Blog) June 28, 2012.
“NAEP Reveals Shallow Grasp of Science,” June 19, 2012.
“Evidence Persists of STEM Achievement Gap for Girls,” (Curriculum Matters Blog) June 11, 2012.


Men and women have large differences in personality, according to a new study published Jan. 4 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

14/07/2012

did we not always know it? There ARE differences between males and females. Now, we have the research to back our claims up. See below if you want to read more:

source
ScienceDaily (Jan. 4, 2012) —

The existence of such differences, and their extent, has been a subject of much debate, but the authors of the new report, led by Marco Del Giudice of the University of Turin in Italy, describe a new method for measuring and analyzing personality differences that they argue is more accurate than previous methods.

The researchers used personality measurements from more than 10,000 people, approximately half men and half women. The personality test included 15 personality scales, including such traits as warmth, sensitivity, and perfectionism. When comparing men’s and women’s overall personality profiles, which take multiple traits into account, very large differences between the sexes became apparent, even though differences look much smaller when each trait is considered separately.

However, the study indicates that previous methods to measure such differences have been inadequate, both because they focused on one trait at a time and because they failed to correct for measurement error.

The authors conclude that the true extent of sex differences in human personality has therefore been consistently underestimated.
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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Public Library of Science.

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Journal Reference:

Marco Del Giudice, Tom Booth, Paul Irwing. The Distance Between Mars and Venus: Measuring Global Sex Differences in Personality. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (1): e29265 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029265

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Public Library of Science (2012, January 4). Men and women have major personality differences: New report suggests previous measurements have underestimated variation between the sexes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 14, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/01/120104174812.htm

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