Michael C. Reichert, director of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania, has conducted extensive research on the type of relational teaching common at Woodberry. He has found that boys respond best to teachers who demonstrate a mastery of their subject, set high standards for themselves and their students, and share common interests with the boys they teach.
As Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens noted in the journal Educational Leadership, years of MRI and PET scans done on the brains of boys and girls have shown how those organs function differently for each gender during adolescence. According to Gurian and Stevens, "Girls have, in general, stronger neural connectors in their temporal lobes than boys have. These connectors lead to more sensually detailed memory storage, better listening skills, and better discrimination among the various tones of voice. This leads, among other things, to greater use of detail in writing assignments." Boys, meanwhile, "have more cortical areas dedicated to spatial-mechanical functioning, males use, on average, half the brain space that females use for verbal-emotive functioning. The cortical trend toward spatial-mechanical functioning makes many boys want to move objects through space, like balls, model airplanes, or just their arms and legs. Most boys, although not all of them, will experience words and feelings differently than girls do."