Most of us would acknowledge that human learning isn’t limited to just “ears and up” education. We’re influenced by and learn from a great mix of variables. Half a century ago, test scores suggested that females struggled with math, and the theory was (please don’t shoot me, I’m just the piano player) that women’s brains weren’t structured in a way to make higher computation possible.
Then along came Sheila Tobias who believed, and of course proved, that the reason women struggled was that they were told from a very young age that they couldn’t do math. From girlhood on, they were limited and in some cases paralyzed by fear. And fear shuts down learning.
We know, though, that if we can address the emotional component as well as the cognitive, we will see great things because affect is so intimately linked to cognition. In “Teaching Boys/Reaching Boys” Richard Halwley points out that an engaged and trusting relationship isn’t just helpful;. it is a precondition for meaningful growth. It’s not a nice to have — it is a” gots to have” for our boys. While it would be absolutely delightful if every boy had 6 teachers with whom he had a wonderful connection, we have to do everything we can to make sure that each student has at least one.