We’ve all heard or said the following at one point in our lives–possibly in the reverse! Discussion ensues. Proving is required. And the proving most certainly involves the demonstration of greater knowledge. Of course, the boy trying to prove his point and the girl trying to prove her point, uses the knowledge that each has acquired that he or she believes the other will not have–thus proving his or her greater intelligence.
I had the experience of hearing my children and their opposite gendered cousins having this discussion as well in the last couple of day during holiday visiting. Listening to them comparing their factual knowledge, I realized that intelligence is no longer based on the memorization of facts. We only attribute 20-25% of a student’s grade to factual knowledge. Regardless of state or province, the guiding documents are much more focused on what students are able to do with their knowledge.
There is so much information available today that there is no possible way for one person to memorize all of it. An individual is considered intelligent if he or she can problem solve to determine what information is needed and how he or she is going to acquire that information. The acquisition of information is performed by using critical thinking skills!…not by memorizing facts.
There are two other main skills that are required in addition to critical thinking skills: communication (verbal, written, visual, etc.) and making connections between ideas, literature, other writings and world events.
Thus, knowledge is not the primary focus of education or intelligence.
I don’t believe that girls are smarter than boys or that boys are smarter than girls. Individuals, male or female, have differing strengths and weaknesses, and intelligence is definitely not so easy to define today with the changing expectations of what we expect students to be able to DO in their adult work.
As a child, yes, I told many a boy that girls are most definitely smarter; now, as I raise three boys, I see other intelligences that I had discounted as a young woman because they didn’t suit my learning style or aptitudes.
As a closing note–which will open a whole other can of worms–is it possible that we are educating students in a way that makes it seem that girls are more intelligent than boys?