BFFs vs. Posse

I think we've figured out that teen boys are different than teen girls. With that said, what we do to reach them may also differ. TIME recently released an article contrasting the differences between girls and guys. Their article summarizes the results of new research on the brain from the National Institute of Mental Health.
In a nutshell, girls prefer the one-on-one close friendships (aka BFFs) while boys seem to prefer interacting in packs or a posse.

"The results suggest that as girls progress from early puberty to late adolescence, certain regions of their brains become more active when they face a potential social interaction. Specifically, when an older girl anticipates meeting someone new — someone she believes will be interested in her — her nucleus accumbens (which is associated with reward and motivation), hypothalamus (associated with hormone secretion), hippocampus (associated with social learning) and insula (associated with subjective feelings) all become more active. By contrast, boys in the same situation show no such increase in activity in these areas. In fact, the activity in their insula actually declines." -TIME (07.17.09, John Cloud)

"This research combined with what we already know about gender learning preferences, gives insight into how we can create youth ministries that maximize both a teen's learning and social enjoyment," says Kent Shaffer, ChurchRelevance.
Shaffer elaborates on what your teaching environments may look like based on these results:
When teaching boys, keep the group large but controllable (ie: 12-24 boys) and in even numbers for team competition. Stand and move around while speaking forcefully and realistically. Allow the boys to occasionally move and keep the room at 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Use cooler colors in your enviornment and teaching. Play sports and competitive games, so the boys can naturally bond via social competition.

When teaching girls, keep the group very small and intimate and allow for one-on-one interaction or even mentoring. Sit in a circle with the girls and speak descriptively and in a nurturing tone. Keep the room at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Use lots of colors, particularly warmer colors, and use visual and\or tactile textures. Create a secure yet stimulating environment where they can feel comfortable in taking risks that you encourage them to take.
So what have you learned about the differences in teaching boys and girls? Do you find this research helpful or insightful?

Related items:
National Institute of Mental Health: Research

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1 Responses to “BFFs vs. Posse”

  1. # Blogger Kim

    Actually this says a lot. I've always preferred one friend at a time while Dave prefers a "posse." Now I know why ;) I totally agree with the tips on how to serve each group.  

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