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The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life

Michael Gurian, Kathy Stevens (With)

ISBN: 978-0-787-99528-7 April 2007 Jossey-Bass 368 Pages


Michael Gurian's blockbuster bestseller The Wonder of Boys is the bible for mothers, fathers, and educators on how to understand and raise boys. It has sold over 400,000 copies, been translated into 17 languages, and sells over 25,000 every year, which is more than any other book on boys in history. To follow up on this first book, which launched the boy's movement, he has now written this revolutionary new book which confronts what he and a lot of other parents and teachers in this country truly believe to be a "boy's crisis".

Here are the facts:
  • Boys today are simply not learning as well as girls
  • Boys receive 70% of the Ds and Fs given all students
  • Boys cause 90% of classroom discipline problems
  • 80% of all high school dropouts are boys
  • Millions of American boys are on Ritalin and other mind-bending control drugs
  • Only 40% of college students are boys
  • And three out of four learning disabled students are boys
So what can we do?

Gurian has the answer in this enormously fascinating and practical book which shows parents and teachers how to help boys overcome their current classroom obstacles by helping to create the proper learning environment, understand how to help boys work with their unique natural gifts, nurture and expand every bit of their potential, and enabling them to succeed in life the way they ought to.

Gurian presents a whole new way of solving the problem based on the success of his program in schools across the country, the latest research and application of neuro-biological research on how boys' brains actually work and how they can learn very well if they're properly taught.

Anyone who cares about the future of our boys must read this book.

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Part One: Protecting the Minds of Boys.

1 The Current Crisis.

Is There Really a Crisis?

Understanding and Fixing the Crisis.

The Next Step.

2 How Boys Learn.

A New Science.

Boy Energy.

The Mismatch Between Boys and Conventional Education.

Confronting an Educational Myth.

Ending the Myth of Gender Plasticity and Supporting the Way Boys Actually Learn.

A Boy-Friendly Model for Protecting the Minds of Boys.

Becoming Practical.

Part Two: Starting Boys Out in Boy-friendly Learning Environments.

3 Helping Boys Learn Before they Begin School.

Protecting the Learning Potential of a Young Brain.

Building Bonding and Attachment.

Boys' Special Attachment Issues.

Ten Strategies to Promote Attachment.

The Importance of Emotions in a Boy's Early Education.

The Core Philosophy of Choice Making.

Promoting Verbal Development in a Young Boy.

Balancing a Boy's Fine and Gross Motor Development.

Calming the Hidden Stressors in a Boy's Life.

4 Effective Preschool and Early Learning Environments for Boys.

Providing a Boy-Friendly Learning Environment.

Boys and Sensory Issues.

Brain Breaks.

Music and the Brain.

The Outdoor Classroom.

Do You Have to Use Your Words to Use Your Brain?

5 Removing Key Environmental Stressors from Boys' Lives.

Promoting Brain Health.

Brain Injuries.

Screen Time: TVs, Videos, Video Games, Computers.

What a Boy Eats and Drinks.

The Beauty of Brain Health.

Part Three: Teaching School Curricula in Boy-friendly Ways.

6 Helping Boys Learn Reading, Writing, and Language Arts.

What Parents Can Do.

What Teachers Can Do.

Do Heroes Read and Write?

7 Helping Boys Learn Math and Science.


What Parents Can Do to Help Boys Learn Math.

What Teachers Can Do to Help Boys Learn Math.

What Parents Can Do to Help Boys Learn Science.

What Teachers Can Do to Help Boys Learn Science.

The Importance of the Arts and Athletics in Academics.

8 Using Single-gender Classrooms Effectively.

The Essential Search for Equality.

The Success of Single-Gender Classes.

The Importance of Teacher and Parent Buy-In.

Single-Gender Sex Education.

Bringing Single-Gender Innovations to Your School.

Part Four: Helping Boys Who Need Extra Help.

9 A New Vision of Learning Disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and Behavioral Disorders.

The Inherent Fragility of the Male Brain.

Changing Our Course.

Getting the Right Diagnosis.


Moving to Optimism.

10 Confronting Undermotivation and Underperformance in Boys' Learning.

Undermotivated, Underperforming Boys.

Some Causes of Undermotivation—and Some Cures.

When Gifted Boys Are Undermotivated.

Motivating Our Sons.

11 What Parents and Teachers Can Do to Motivate Boys to Learn.

What Parents Can Do.

What Teachers Can Do.

Helping Gifted Nonachievers.

The Key Role of Men in Motivating Boys.

Leaving No Boy Behind.

12 Helping Sensitive Boys in Our Schools.

Bridge Brains.

Fighting Gender Stereotypes.

The Emotional Lives of Sensitive Boys.

What Parents Can Do to Help Sensitive Boys.

What Teachers Can Do to Help Sensitive Boys.

Choosing to Succeed.




Appendix: Ten Tips for Handling Bullying Among Boys.

The Gurian Institute.

About the Authors.


  • Covers the crisis in boys' education and explains why it exists
  • Explains how boys learn and the disconnect with conventional education
  • Shows teachers how to teach school curricula in boy-friendly ways
  • Offers helpful suggestions for teaching boys reading, writing, language arts, math and science
  • Explains the importance of arts and athletics in academics
  • Covers single gender classrooms and how they can help