Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lise Eliot

Two exchanges from Lise Eliot's interview with Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory about Eliot's new book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps -- and What We Can Do About It:

After starting school, girls quickly surpass boys when it comes to reading and writing skills. Why do these academic differences so quickly reveal themselves?

Girls, there's no question, talk more to each other even in preschool and toddler years. There are more words exchanged than between two boys. Magnify that over a couple years and you have more girls going to school with more verbal skills. With boys, you see the same thing with spatial skills, throwing things, building things and playing video games. Being aware of these different cognitive domains can help us as parents and teachers provide each child with more of a rounded experience early in life. It's important to not give preschool children too much choice about what activity they do, because then you have kids separating by gender and only reinforcing their strengths.

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Should parents encourage boys to play with dolls?

Learning to be nurturing is important for everybody. Most people are going to grow up to be parents, whether they're boys or girls, so it's certainly something worth learning. Across cultures, children show a natural tenderness toward infants. It's stronger in girls than boys, but it...[read on]
Visit Lise Eliot's website.

--Marshal Zeringue