Doodle Now – Learn More

I am at a conference this week – and that means not a lot of time to put together a post today.  Consider this my limited version of Scot’s Weekly Meanderings. I recently came across a few articles that are worth a glance – two describing scientific research published in the primary literature and the third advocating an innovative approach to education.

Women play dumb in pursuit of romance.  OK that isn’t quite the title – it is a little more academic: Effects of Everyday Romantic Goal Pursuit on Women’s Attitudes Toward Math and Science. The paper reports on three studies that examined the relationship between romantic pursuits and attitudes towards science, engineering, and math.  The purpose was to test a hypothesis that women may play dumb – “because pursuing intelligence goals in masculine domains (i.e., STEM) conflicts with pursuing romantic goals.”  You can see the abstract at the link above but the full article requires an institutional subscription. Here are a couple of links to reports about the article though: Women’s Quest for Romance Conflicts with Scientific Pursuits, Study Finds and Women’s Quest to Be ‘Romantically Desirable’ Can Conflict With Scientific Pursuits, Study Suggests.

As a woman, a professor and scientist, and as one who grew up through an era where the scenario of a girl playing dumb to be popular with a boy (or even a wife playing dumb to please her husband) was a common sitcom theme, this strikes close to home. This article also popped into my mind repeatedly as I read some of the comments on the post Monday, Women and Reading Passages Honestly. At least a few times the conversation strayed to the idea that women need to step back so men can grow in confidence.

What do you think about this article? Should women step back to let men shine?

Is this necessary in romance?

Is this part of the mutual submission taught in scripture?

Another article on a related theme appeared on the PNAS site (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), published online before in print: Nurture affects gender differences in spatial abilities. Again the article requires a subscription, but there are reports available from other sources: Gender Gap Vanishes in Female-Empowered Cultures. Women are underrepresented in science and engineering fields and some have argued that this arises from innate biological differences in spatial ability. The study reported in this article compared spatial ability in two similar societies in Northeast India, one patrilineal and one matrilineal. In this study the gender gap in spatial abilities disappears in the matrilineal study. From these results the authors argue for a significant role for nurture in the cultivation of cognitive abilities.

This isn’t to argue that men and women are identical. We certainly are not. But many of the so-called masculine traits, especially those that deal with intelligence and intellectual ability are deeply affected by cultural norms.

And now the title feature. What does this have to do with doodling you may ask. Not much I suppose – but my final link gets to the article that gave the title to the post.  This one should be of interest to many – especially pastors and teachers. You thought all those people doodling all over the bulletin or other paper where daydreaming during your sermon? Think again – perhaps you should encourage it. This paper Drawing to Learn in Science published in Science Magazine’s Education Forum explores the relationship between doodling and learning. Once again the original article requires a personal or institutional subscription, but you can read a short synopsis here People who doodle learn faster.

The article describes several reasons why doodling enhances learning,

  • Drawing enhances engagement
  • Drawing helps students learn to represent the material
  • Drawing helps develop conceptual understanding
  • Drawing is a learning strategy helping to organize and integrate the material
  • Drawing helps people learn to communicate

The article applies this to science education and suggests that learning to draw will enhance learning across the spectrum.

The doodles in the image above come from wikipedia with the description: Various doodles drawn during an afternoon math lecture. Includes references to rock bands Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, The Beatles and Pink Floyd, along with a slight nod to Something Awful and a strange caricature of Abraham Lincoln. (This is not the kind of doodling in class advocated in the article.)

Do you find doodling a useful tool in learning?

If you wish to contact me directly you may do so at rjs4mail[at]

If you have comments please visit Doodle Now – Learn More at Jesus Creed.

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