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Teaching the Male Brain

Teaching the Male Brain
How Boys Think, Feel, and Learn in School

Edited by:

March 2007 | 304 pages | Corwin
'This book is well written, well organized, includes legitimate scientific references, and is full of practical suggestions' - David Sousa, Educational Consultant, Author, How the Brain Learns, Third Edition

Differentiate your teaching style to address learning differences between girls and boys in the classroom!

As a classroom teacher, you might know that boys learn differently from girls. Now, this practical guide to teaching boys combines classic with cutting-edge research to show you why boys learn differently and, more importantly, how you can differentiate teaching strategies to help boys succeed in the classroom.

The author's qualitative and quantitative research shows the cognitive, sensory, physical, social, and emotional differences between genders. James draws from years of classroom experience to offer strategies that have been tested, refined, and used successfully in the field. This easy-to-use handbook provides helpful examples, case studies, and troubleshooting sections illustrating how to handle the concerns that can arise when teaching boys.

Teaching the Male Brain shows you how to:

o Recognize sociological and neurobiological foundations of cognitive gender differences as they relate to education

o Look critically at curricula and teaching practices, evaluate how well they work with boys, and uncover areas where changes can be made

o Develop educational approaches based on research and classroom practice to provide a climate responsive to the learning differences of both boys and girls

Learn to use this brain-based research to provide appropriate and positive learning experiences for the students in your classroom!

About the Author
Substantiating Research

How the Book Is Structured

Learning Objectives

Part I: Sex and Gender Differences in the Classroom
1. Brain Basics
Are Brains Gendered?

Anatomy of the Brain

Sex Differences in Brain Function

Cognitive Skills

2. Sensory Differences



Learning Modalities

Sensory Systems and Learning

3. Physical Differences
Activity Levels

Gross Motor Development v. Fine Motor Development


Handedness and Dexterity

Growth Patterns

Physical Differences and Learning

4. Cognitive Differences
Verbal and Language Skills

Practice the Skills Necessary for the SAT and Other Standardized Tests

Spatial Abilities

Learning Modalities

Strategy Development

Cognitive Differences and Learning

Part II: Societal and Biological Influences
5. ADHD and Learning Disabilities
Attention – ADHD


The “At-Risk” Student

Attentional and Learning Problems

6. Social and Emotional Differences
The Brain and Emotions

Emotional Vocabulary

Aggression and Bullying

Competition and Cooperation


Alcohol and Drugs

Social Influence on School

School and Masculinity

Learning Applications

Emotions and Learning

7. Students With Other Risks



Boys With Cultural, Linguistic, or Socioeconomic Differences and School

Part III: Strategies and Resources for Teaching the Male Brain
8. Classroom Management Strategies
Home Influence



Classroom Management and Learning

9. Content-Specific Suggestions
English/Language Arts


History/Social Studies


Foreign Languages

Fine Arts, Music, and Drama

Computer Skills

Individual Disciplines and Learning

10. Effective Teaching
Differentiated Instruction

Multiple Intelligences

Learning Modalities

Unit Design

Empowering Boys as Learners

Test-Taking Strategies

Final Words

11. Resources and Other Helps
Books of Interest


Learning style Assessments


"James' book provides the background science and sociology as a framework to explore what we know to be the case, that boys on the whole learn differently than girls. From the revealing vignettes that begin each chapter to the pedagogy of what works, this book should become the practical guide for all of us interested in helping boys succeed."

Patrick F. Bassett, President
National Association of Independent Schools

"A thorough and balanced approach to the research on boys' educational needs.  The author's knowledge of current research offers real world, everyday, practical suggestions for teachers who work with male students."

Charles M. Stillwell, Headmaster
St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

"All children need just one caring educator in their lives. James is that champion for boys. Using research-based strategies, this book unlocks the mystery of how boys learn."

Wendy M. Pearre, Lower School Head (K-4)
The Fessenden School, West Newton, MA

“James focuses on naturalistic ways that many boys learn, describes a sampling of the extant research on gender differences in learning, demonstrates well a sensitivity to more diverse approaches to curriculum and instruction, and provides resources for teachers to make appropriate accommodations to all students.”

PsycCRITIQUES, April 2008, Vol. 53(17)
American Psychological Association

Sample Materials & Chapters

Intro & Ch. 1


Preview this book

Abigail Norfleet James

Abigail Norfleet James taught for many years in single-sex schools and consults on the subject of gendered teaching to school systems, colleges, and universities. Her area of expertise is developmental and educational psychology as applied to the gendered classroom. Prior to obtaining her doctorate from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, she taught general science, biology, and psychology in both boys’ and girls’ schools.Her previous publications include reports of research comparing the educational attitudes of male graduates of coed schools and single-sex schools, research describing the effects of gendered basic... More About Author

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