Counselor Day speaker addresses learning differences between boys, girls

March 6 2007

School counselors went inside the minds of boys during a day-long workshop Tuesday (March 6) at Indiana State University.

Keynote speaker for ISU’s second annual Counselor Day was Kathy Stevens, co-author of The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life.

Stevens said boys are falling behind, in part, because today’s educational system does not understand well enough how to engage them.

“We need to look at who they are, how they’re wired, and how they learn, which is slightly different than how girls are wired and how girls learn. Our institutional school system tends to be a more comfortable place for girls to learn,” she said.

Girls are more verbal and care about building relationships, Stevens said, so they care more about what the teacher thinks and it’s easier for them to sit still and be quiet than it is for boys.

“Little boys start school with a body designed to move and they want to move as they learn. Yet we bring them into the classroom, tell them to sit down and be quiet and if they can’t do that we think they have attention deficit disorder and we send them to the doctor to get some pills,” she said.

Instead, Stevens, owner of Rocky Mountain Learning Enterprises, LLC, and director of the training division of the Gurian Institute, suggests taking advantage of the ability of boys to move and learn at the same time and if that means not keeping them at their desk all the time, so be it.

An aspiring counselor, Stepfan Hiser of Indianapolis, home school advisor at Westlake Elementary School in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, says he’ll use what he learned at ISU’s Counselor Day to help both boys and girls succeed in the classroom and beyond.

“I’m going to take this and make it a part of accomplishing my project of helping all students, but male students in particular, achieve total success as a person, academically and socially,” said Hiser, a master’s student in education at Indiana State.

About 50 school counselors from Indiana and Illinois attended the second annual Counselor Day, presented by the ISU College of Education school counseling program and the university’s Office of Admissions and sponsored by Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans.

The primary goal of Counselor Day is to provide counselors with the information necessary to better serve their high-school-aged clients, said Rebecca Libler, associate dean of the College of Education and associate professor of educational administration at ISU.

In addition to the keynote address and breakout sessions on ways to strengthen learning for boys and engaging parents more in education; counselors received updates on scholarships, financial aid and admissions procedures, and toured ISU’s newly opened Welcome Center.

Contacts: Rebecca Libler, associate dean of the College of Education and associate professor of educational administration, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2862 or rlibler@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

School counselors from Indiana and Illinois went inside the minds of boys during the second annual Counselor Day, presented by the ISU College of Education and Office of Admissions. Keynote speaker Kathy Stevens, author of "The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life," said today's educational system does not understand well enough how to engage boys.

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