There are many aspects associated with boys’ neurological development that can significantly impact their engagement with schooling. The growing field of educational neuroscience presents many opportunities as well as challenges for educators.
Through brain imaging technologies, we are discovering more about the unique ways that boys’ and girls’ brains function. This is not to say that the brain development of all boys and all girls is identical, but new MRI research continues to show some consistent patterns.
Understanding boys is critical to support them in their learning. Some of the key aspects unique to boys are:
- The prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognitive processes. It is the last area of the brain to fully mature, with this process occurring later in boys.
- The neurological architecture of areas associated with language and communication (Corpus Callosum, Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area) are significantly different in boys.
- The hippocampus plays a key role in the formation and retrieval of long-term memory. The hippocampus is significantly smaller in males, as well as having a slower speed of neuron transmission.
- Boys, above all of their other senses, tend to rely more on their visual cortex for gathering information.
- Serotonin facilitates the neural pathways between the limbic system (emotion) with the frontal lobes (thinking centre). Boys' levels of serotonin are substantially lower and decline temporarily during adolescence.
- Movement can act as a neuro-stimulator and calming mechanism for boys.
While boys and girls have equal opportunities to succeed at school, we can see through neuroscience that their journey to success can be very different.
For both boys and girls, the adolescent brain is far from mature and goes through extensive structural changes well past puberty. Adolescence remains an important period in terms of emotional development.
At Trinity, we are wholehearted in our belief in the benefits of an all boys' education. We are proud of the many opportunities specific to their needs that we are able to provide for our students.
Our holistic approach to learning recognises the close inter-dependence of boys' cognitive, social, emotional, creative, physical and spiritual development is well grounded in current neurological research.
To learn more about the educational journey offered at Trinity, you can watch a video on ‘A day in the life of a Junior School student’ here.