Can boys succeed with Common Core?

Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 01:35 PM.

He offers two real-life examples that reveal volumes about how the male brain works:

• Boys need a worthy challenge:Both NBA greats, who have long since been great friends, are eager to talk about their former rival. Both say that they simply would not have had the same legendary career without the rivalry; it made them better. When Johnson left the NBA, Bird said he just wasn’t as interested in the game.

 The male brain responds to a challenge it deem worthy. A student, who daydreams during algebra class and appears lazy, may also pour attention and effort into mastering a skateboarding trick. Constructing a challenge for the male student will do wonders to engage his learning.

•   Boys crave legitimacy.Think about all the colleges in the United States; now imagine trying to craft an NFL playoff-style system that fairly selects the No.1 college football team. Does it seem impossible? Aren’t there too many teams?

The NCAA has been trying to figure out a system for establishing a legitimate No. 1 team for decades, and it’s finally going to implement one next season. Whether or not it’ll work, the effort put into such an endeavor has been considerable. Why so much time and energy for a game?

Because the male brain craves legitimacy; boys will only agree that something is meaningful or valuable if there is a valid process for establishing that value. In the classroom, helping boys understand why and how learning a concept, skill or calculation has value for them will go a long way toward motivating them to learn.

About Dr. Edmond J. Dixon

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