Boys and Girls Learn Differently! A Guide for Teachers and by Michael Gurian

By Michael Gurian

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

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We are putting boys and girls together in classrooms and a system of education that is unprepared to deal with who these children really are. In this chapter, we present some of the newest and freshest research into the brain, brain similarities, and male-female brain differences. ” The Wide Spectrum of Gender in the Brain As you master this material, we hope you will check the research by keeping your own journal of observations. For a month or so, mark 16 BOYS AND GIRLS LEARN DIFFERENTLY! down “gender experiences” you see in your classroom, or home, or wherever it is that you are a teacher of children (“Today Jimmy did such-and-such” or “Today Heather said something that .

Wernicke’s area Links language and thought; enhances word comprehension. Likely more highly active in females. Improved verbal communication skills in females. Developmental and Structural Differences In most cases, and in most aspects of developmental chronology, girls’ brains mature earlier than boys’ brains. An example is in the myelination of the brain. One of the last steps in the brain’s growth to adulthood occurs as the nerves that spiral around the shaft of other nerves of the brain, like vines around a tree, are coated.

MALE GRADES FEMALE 4– 6 begin to increase at age • Hormones ten focused on action, • Primarily exploration, and things likely than ever to use • More aggression to resolve differences at reading maps and • Better deciphering directions at chess • Better likely to need remedial reading • More math problems without • Solves talking • Channel surfs on TV develops body at ratio • Testosterone of 40 percent muscle mass to 15 by hormone changes earlier • Affected than boys focused on relationships and • Primarily communication to settle differences with hitting • Unlikely at fine-motor skills and • Better coordination for fine tasks at learning a foreign language • Better likely to sing in tune • More math problems with language • Solves help • Watches one program for longer period MIDDLE SCHOOL percent fat Estrogen develops body ratio of 23 • percent muscle mass to 25 percent fat Estrogen greater activity in the • brain (firstgenerates phase of menstruation, indisputably an • Testosterone increased concentration) aggression-inducing chemical When talkative in class, often seeking quiet in class, often confident • attention • When 50 percent likely to be held back a • grade than less eighth-grade boys percent more likely to be held • 50 back a grade than eighth-grade girls of female hormone relates • Amount directly to Amount of male hormone relates • directly to success at traditional male tasks success at traditional female tasks likely to be victim of sexual abuse • More likely to be a victim of physical Hypothalamus functions to fluctuate • More • abuse levels based on a twenty-eight day cycle HIGH SCHOOL on things directed at • Concentration career considerations on strength and muscularity • Focus for sexual attractiveness (fearing weakness) acceptance based on physical • Social strength and athleticism likely to be involved in criminal • More behavior one study 69 percent of males • Insuggested “fighting” as best way to resolve conflict on more intimate • Concentration personal relationships on slender appearance for sexual • Focus attractiveness (fearing obesity) acceptance based on peer • Social relationships and beauty likely to be involved in criminal • Less behavior one study 69 percent of females • Insuggested “walking away or talking things out as the best way to resolve conflict” How the Brain Learns MALE FEMALE hierarchies tend to be stable • Social (boys “know their place”) of power a universal male • Pursuit trait far greater academic success • Achieves after puberty scores rise dramatically between • IQ fourteen and sixteen with XXY chromosomal pattern • Boys (an extra female chromosome) do hierarchies tend to be fluid • Social Pursuit comfortable environment a • universaloffemale trait -than-normal estrogen level • Higher produces certain intellectual • • • • • • • • less well at spatial reasoning Bullies still popular among peers Athletes slightly more sexually active than male peers If involved in high school athletics, more likely to get better grades and go to college (also more likely to drink and try drugs) More likely to succeed at suicide 85 percent of students in advanced placement computer science classes Matriculated (graduated) at lower levels than girls in high school and college Less likely than girls to suffer episode of clinical depression Performance on writing examinations less affected by biological cycles • • • • • • • • • • • 37 disadvantages IQ scores level off or drop during middle school but rise again at high school Girls with higher-than-normal level of testosterone better at spatial reasoning Bullies among girls unpopular Athletes less likely to be sexually active than girl peers Less likely to become pregnant if involved in school activities More likely unsuccessful at suicide attempt 15 percent of students in advanced placement computer science classes female Matriculation levels higher than boys in recent years in both high school and college Almost 50 percent of girls in one survey experienced at least one episode of clinical depression within five years of high school graduation Performance on writing exams drops by as much as 14 percent during menstrual cycle Outperform men in tests of verbal and communication skills Why the Brains Are Different One of the intriguing things about brain-based research is our theoretical understanding of why the differences between female and male brains exist.

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