How to help girls excel in math

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist & Author, explains how girls often learn math in a different way than boys and shares advice on methods to help them learn better
Raising Girls | How To Help Girls Excel In Math
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How to help girls excel in math

One the things that teachers and administrators often ask is should we be teaching Math to girls in a different way? The simple answer is yes. When you teach math to girls in a way that is related to life like figuring out how much soup a can can hold. That's actually a question that comes from very complicated calculus. But when you put it that way, they're much more willing to work on it because it makes sense and they understand it. So, there are two programs that relate teaching Math in a what we call reality-based way - Singapore Math and everyday Math. The schools that are using those programs are seeing great changes in girls. The more complex answer or simple depending on how you look at it is, the quality of the teacher has the most to do with the effect on girls liking and understanding Math. If the teacher believes in their capability and articulates that and if the teacher articulates in some way that they care about the girl, what girl’s report is they’ll do anything for a Math teacher that believes in them and that works with them and that even if it’s not a great curriculum, the quality of the teacher can counter everything.

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist & Author, explains how girls often learn math in a different way than boys and shares advice on methods to help them learn better


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JoAnn Deak, PhD

Psychologist & Author

JoAnn Deak, PhD, has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls (Laurel School), for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, Power Play and GOAL. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent (except Antarctica!) She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs for the past five years.

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