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Boys and Girls Learn Differently! A Guide for Teachers and Parents, Revised 10th Anniversary Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-94059-4
400 pages
August 2010, Jossey-Bass
Boys and Girls Learn Differently! A Guide for Teachers and Parents, Revised 10th Anniversary Edition (047094059X) cover image
A thoroughly revised edition of the classic resource for understanding gender differences in the classroom

In this profoundly significant book, author Michael Gurian has revised and updated his groundbreaking book that clearly demonstrated how the distinction in hard-wiring and socialized gender differences affects how boys and girls learn. Gurian presents a proven method to educate our children based on brain science, neurological development, and chemical and hormonal disparities. The innovations presented in this book were applied in the classroom and proven successful, with dramatic improvements in test scores, during a two-year study that Gurian and his colleagues conducted in six Missouri school districts.

  • Explores the inherent differences between the developmental neuroscience of boys and girls
  • Reveals how the brain learns
  • Explains when same sex classrooms are appropriate, and when they’re not

This edition includes new information on a wealth of topics including how to design the ultimate classroom for kids in elementary, secondary, middle, and high school.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xv

INTRODUCTION 1

Who We Are and What We Do 2

How to Use This New Edition 5

Success Stories Since the Missouri Pilot 6

Innovating with Single-Sex Options 8

Moving Forward at the Nexus of Science and Practice 9

PART ONE: HOW BOYS AND GIRLS LEARN DIFFERENTLY 11

1 HOW THE BRAIN LEARNS: INHERENT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOYS AND GIRLS 13

The Wide Spectrum of Gender in the Brain 15

How the Brain Works 17

How Boys’ and Girls’ Minds Are Different 19

Developmental and Structural Differences 25

Chemical Differences 27

Hormonal Differences 27

Functional Differences 29

Differences in Processing Emotion 31

Why the Brains Are Different 37

A Brief History of Brain Difference 38

The Role of Hormones in the Womb and at Puberty 40

2 HOW BRAIN-BASED DIFFERENCES AFFECT BOYS AND GIRLS 43

Areas of Learning-Style Difference 44

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning 44

Abstract and Concrete Reasoning 45

Use of Language 45

Logic and Evidence 46

The Likelihood of Boredom 46

Use of Space 47

Movement 47

Sensitivity and Group Dynamics 47

Use of Symbolism 49

Use of Learning Teams 49

Learning Differences and the Intelligences 50

Time and Sequence 50

Space and Place 51

Applying the Intelligences to Brain-Based Gender Difference 52

The State of Boys and Girls in Our Schools 54

Advantages for Boys, Challenges for Girls 54

Advantages for Girls, Challenges for Boys 56

Applying Brain-Based Research to Gender Advantage 57

Studies Based on Political Assumptions 64

The Political Search for Workplace Privation 66

Creating the Ultimate Classroom 67

PART TWO: CREATING THE ULTIMATE CLASSROOM FOR BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS 71

Authors' Note 72

3 THE ULTIMATE PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM 75

The Foundation of Early Learning: Bonding and Attachment 76

Handling Children’s Emotional Stress 78

Bonding and Attachment Solutions 80

Day Care, Preschool, and Kindergarten Community Building 86

The Case for Preschool 86

Parents as Teachers 87

The Parent Education Coordinator 88

Nutrition and Learning 89

Carbohydrates, Proteins, and the School Day 89

Fatty Acids 91

Dealing with Aggressive Behavior 92

Aggression Nurturance 95

Increasing Empathy Nurturance and Verbalization 96

Discipline Techniques 99

The Outdoor Classroom 101

Directing Boys and Girls to Academic Excellence 103

Teaching Math and Spatials 105

Language Development 113

Special Education 117

Creating a Tribe: Bonding and School-Home Alliances 118

Use of Psychotropic Medications 119

The Ultimate Preschool and Kindergarten Classroom for Both Boys and Girls 123

For the Boys 123

For the Girls 124

Tips for Parents 125

4 THE ULTIMATE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM 127

Structural Innovations 129

Use of School Time 130

Class Size, Number of Teachers, and Teacher-to-Student Ratio 133

Using Group Dynamics and Group Work as a Basis of Pedagogy 135

Use of Computers and Other Media in Elementary School 137

The Outdoor Classroom 139

Bonding and Attachment in Elementary Learning 142

Handling Students' Emotional Stress 149

The Role of the Mentor 155

Community Collaboration: Mentors from Outside the School 158

How to Provide Discipline in the Elementary Classroom 160

Learning from Past Mistakes 161

Discipline Techniques After an Offending Act 163

Discipline Techniques to Prevent Undisciplined Behavior 168

Motivation Techniques 170

Character Education 171

CHARACTERplus 172

Integrating Character Education into the Whole School 173

Dealing with Cruelty, Hazing, and Violence 174

Defi nition of Terms 175

Zero-Tolerance Policies 176

Innovations for Academic Excellence 180

Innovations for Teaching Language Arts, Especially Reading and Writing 180

Innovations for Teaching Math and Science 184

Standardized Testing 189

Special Education, Learning Disabilities, and Behavioral Disabilities 191

Class Within a Class 193

Fast ForWord 195

Other Spatial Stimulants and Use of Movement 195

The Multisensory Approach to Reading Problems 196

Cooperative and Competitive Learning 196

Sports and Athletics 199

The Ultimate Elementary Classroom for Both Boys and Girls 200

For the Boys 200

For the Girls 201

Tips for Parents 203

5 THE ULTIMATE MIDDLE SCHOOL CLASSROOM 204

Structural Innovations 206

Single-Sex Education 206

Rites of Passage 215

Use of Uniforms 218

Classroom Size and Other Innovations 220

Bonding and Attachment 222

The Early Adolescent's Drop in Self-Esteem 223

Handling Students' Emotional Stresses 225

Community Collaboration 231

How to Provide Discipline in the Middle School Classroom 234

Strategies for Providing Discipline 234

Mandatory Sports 238

Character Education 240

Innovations for Teaching Language Arts and Math and Science 243

Innovations for Teaching Language Arts 243

Innovations for Teaching Math and Science 247

Girls and Computer Science 249

Special Education 250

Rethinking Special Education Through the Lens of Gender and the Brain 252

Innovations for Dealing with Behavioral Elements of Special Ed 255

The Underachiever as a Special Ed Category 257

"Mr. Daba": The Power of Bonding 258

The Ultimate Middle School Classroom for Both Boys and Girls 261

For the Boys 262

For the Girls 263

Tips for Parents 263

6 THE ULTIMATE HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM 266

Bonding and Attachment 268

Communication and Confl ict Resolution 270

The Art of Mentoring 272

Peer Leadership, Not Peer Pressure 274

Discipline Systems 275

Character Education and Service Projects 277

Structural Innovations 278

Class and School Size 279

Uniforms 280

Time and Time-of-Day Innovations 284

The Innovations Students Are Asking For 286

Counterinnovations 287

Rites of Passage 289

Full Psychosocial Education, Not Just Sex Education 291

Improving Sex Education 292

Gender Education 294

Innovations to Improve Academic Learning 297

Teaching Mathematics, Science, and Technology 298

Technology and Gender 301

Teaching Reading and Literacy 302

Standardized Testing 307

Special Education 310

The Ultimate High School Classroom for Both Boys and Girls 313

For the Boys 313

For the Girls 314

Tips for Parents 315

What High School Students Are Saying: Their Fears 316

EPILOGUE 319

NOTES 323

PARENTS' BOOK STUDY FOR BOYS AND GIRLS LEARN DIFFERENTLY! 333

TEACHERS' BOOK STUDY FOR BOYS AND GIRLS LEARN DIFFERENTLY! 341

THE GURIAN INSTITUTE 349

ABOUT THE AUTHORS 351

INDEX 355

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Michael Gurian is a pioneer and leading authority in gender issues worldwide. The New York Times best-selling author of The Wonder of Boys, The Minds of Boys, The Purpose of Boys, and The Wonder of Girls, he is cofounder of the Gurian Institute, an active research and training organization in the fields of education, family development, and gender studies. Kathy Stevens is executive director of the Gurian Institute and coauthor of five books with Michael, including The Minds of Boys.

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