From Publishers Weekly
Educator and author Gurian (The Wonder of Boys) and his co-writers argue that from preschool to high school, brain differences between the sexes call for different teaching strategies. While it's widely accepted that, in general, boys do better in math and girls in language, the authors claim that, until recently, society has taken the politically correct but scientifically inaccurate classroom view that children of both genders learn best in an "androgynous classroom." Presenting a detailed picture of boys' and girls' neurological, chemical and hormonal disparities, the authors explain how those differences affect learning. Although Gurian et al. address the problems of both genders, they focus on boys, contending that they are more difficult to teach and have more learning and discipline problems. The female brain, Gurian says, has a "learning advantage" because it is more complex and active, although the male brain does excel at abstract thinking and spatial relations, one reason why boys do better in math. Drawing on anecdotes contributed by teachers participating in a Missouri-based pilot program launched by the Michael Gurian Institute, the authors present a variety of methods, from pairing a language activity with movement for boys, to using role models to engage girls in academic risk taking. Throughout, the authors stress the importance of teacher training, arguing that regrettably few teachers are knowledgeable about this issue. (Apr.)Forecast: With a seven-city author tour to spark media interest and follows the huge success of The Wonder of Boys, this book will be picked up by parents eager to learn more of what Gurian has to say. Most Americans are intensely concerned about the state of our educational system, so the book could reach beyond its target readership of teachers and parents.
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Despite feminism and efforts to desexualize teaching, boys and girls persistently exhibit different learning styles. Based on two decades of research in 30 cultures around the world and the observations made at the Michael Gurian Institute at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, this book explores the reasons for those differences in processing information and learning. Part 1 examines research on the brain that indicates physical differences, such as male brains being larger and female brains maturing earlier. Part 2 offers practical, grade-level-appropriate advice for developing learning environments that accommodate boys' and girls' differing learning styles. The book notes the fundamental differences--boys are more active and physical, girls more verbal and social--but cautions against stereotyping children and neglecting the individuality of specific kids. It outlines the components of the "ultimate classroom," one that supports both sexes in learning, and illustrates with actual classroom experiences. Helpful tables outline different strategies, and the book encourages teaching teachers to "mentor both aggression and empathy." Useful for parents and teachers alike. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved