Spatial Skills

Evolution
Gender differences is a popular topic, and our beliefs about  the reason behind gender differences can influence and change the way we treat our children. Some differences between boys and girls can be innate and the differences could have developed through thousands of years of evolution.  A problem is that is difficult to find domains that can be studied and examined for differences between boys and girls. Many domains have only recently developed – reading and formal mathematics.

  • Differences in spatial reasoning could have developed through thousands of years. 
  • Spatial reasoning involves a sense of direction, orientation, and distance.
  • Boys are more accurate and faster at solving mental rotation tasks.
  • Differences in solving spatial tasks are one of the largest when you look at cognitive skills, particularly on mental rotation tasks. 
  • It has been argued that spatial awareness is an innate difference.
Mentally Rotate Objects
The ability to rotate an object mentally is present in young babies, and a five months old baby can rotate objects visually. 

  • Baby boys are better than baby girls are, and this result has supported the claim that there is an innate difference. 
  • The difference continues to grow larger through childhood.
Opportunities
  • Learning and experiences influence a child’s ability to mentally rotate objects, determine direction etc. 
  • But in many countries, children are not provided with opportunities to improve their skills. 
  • The attitude towards spatial abilities varies, and in some cultures, there are small differences between boys and girls. 

In Canada, Eskimo women participate in hunting. Hunting requires  the ability to judge distance and to find directions. Eskimo girls are provided with learning experiences, which helps them to develop their spatial skills. And the girls develop similar skills as the boys.

Mandarin and Piagetian Tasks

  • Many of Piaget’s tasks rely on spatial skills, and Chinese children solve Piagetian tasks at an earlier age than children in many other countries.
  • Awareness of lines and geometry is vital when a child is learning how to hand-write Mandarin. 
  • The characters demand a detailed attention to spatial dimensions.
Potential to Learn

In China, children study geometry for several years. By proving, both boys and girls with opportunities to practice their spatial skills, the differences between boys and girls are minimised. 

  •  The focused training and attention means that Chinese girls are overall better than boys in many other countries.
  • It is vital to provided all children with opportunities to develop and learn. 
  • The learning environment is crucial and every child is born with the potential and ability to grow and develop their skills. 
 

Photo: Tree In Drop Of Water by dan

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