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UBCO Researchers Say Girls Recognize Kindness in School More Than Boys

According to a recent UBC Okanagan study, young girls are more likely to notice kindness in school than boys are.

Researchers worked with kids between the ages of 9 and 13 in their study.

Out of more than 1,700 students between Grades 4 and 8, girls were shown to notice acts of kindness in schools significantly more than boys.

<who> Photo Credit: UBCO. </who> UBC's John-Tyler Binfet works with a student at a local elementary school.“Students’ perception of kindness could be an important indication of the extent to which a school promotes empathy, student development, and learning,” said John-Tyler Binfet, an assistant professor of Education at UBC Okanagan, in a statement. “There is a large body of research that supports the theory that schools that don’t have a culture that supports kindness actually have increased levels of aggression, compromised classroom behaviour, and decreased academic achievement.”

Binfet’s recent study, “Measuring Kindness at School: Psychometric Properties of a School Kindness Scale (SKS) for Children and Adolescents,” was conducted in public schools in the Central Okanagan School District in 2014.

Students were shown statements like, “Kindness happens regularly in my classroom,” and “My teacher is kind,” and asked whether they strongly agreed or disagreed.

Like in other similar studies, results from SKS show that students’ perception of kindness decreased from Grades 4 to 8.

Binfet said more research should be done on why girls perceive more kindness in school than boys.

“Focusing on students’ strengths within schools encourages students’ talents, competence and abilities,” he said. “We must work hard to emphasize kindness in schools in order to increase students’ well-being and long-term success in life.”

To learn more about the School Kindness Scale, visit the UBC Okanagan website.