The npj Science of Learning presents research focussed on the mind, brain, and education space. This month, our authors showed there are differences in the level of anxiety experienced by STEM students. But there is evidence demonstrating that boys and girls think about math in the same way. Plus, teachers discuss why teaching and learning should be a matter of sharing and allowing students to co-construct their knowledge.

Angela Laird, a Professor from Florida International University in the US, revealed boys’ and girls’ performance levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines are similar. But both genders experience different levels of anxiety while studying STEM in class. Her research study explored the impact of anxiety on the learning process, by co-relating how brain networks process anxiety in male and female students. Angela Laird shares her findings in more detail in STEM Anxiety and the Brain.

Alyssa Kersey, a post-doctoral research scholar based at the University of Chicago in the US, disentangled the sociocultural myth that boys perform better in maths than girls in her new research study. The results showed no gender differences exist when children are learning and thinking about maths and the same region of the brain is important for math development in all children. Read more about Alyssa Kersey’s ground-breaking discovery in Boys and girls use their brains in the same way to think about math.

Teachers Matt Hardy, Indiana Dellit, and Charlotte Wilson aimed to understand and address critical weaknesses in classrooms by reflecting on current approaches to teaching and learning, as part of the SLRC Partner Schools Program in Australia. To gain further insight, they investigated the impact of teacher/student collaboration by comparing modern and traditional teaching practices. Learn more about the results of their study in Learning should be a social activity.

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