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Teaching the Female Brain

Teaching the Female Brain
How Girls Learn Math and Science

Edited by:

July 2012 | 208 pages | Corwin

"James' text is a wonderful resource for teachers and parents of girls. The practical suggestions for math and science teachers are an absolute highlight. If educators read and follow the encouraging suggestions in this book, more girls would be empowered to succeed in math and science."
—Kate Broadley, Researcher
Alliance of Girls' Schools

Incorporate brain-based research to empower girls in the classroom!

As any classroom teacher can tell you, there are discernible differences in the way girls and boys learn. This engaging, practical guide examines how girls' unique sensory, physical, cognitive, and emotional characteristics affect their performance in the classroom, and shows you how to adapt classroom experiences to assist girls' learning, particularly in math and science.

Abigail Norfleet James provides research-based findings to build your understanding of how females learn differently, whether in coed or single-sex settings, and clarifies assumptions held by both teachers and students about themselves. Inside, readers will find:

  • Specific instructional techniques and practical applications for differentiating instruction in math and science
  • Ways of dealing with girls' stress
  • Up-to-date findings on left- vs. right-brain learning, styles of learning, and math anxiety
  • Resources, figures, and charts, as well as quizzes in each chapter that introduce the topic and challenge preconceived notions of learning differences

Teach in ways that complement the female brain and give girls the best education possible!

Foreword by Monica M. Gillespie
About the Author
1. The Influence of Cognitive Gender Differences

Part I: The Brain and Senses

Part II: The Mind

2. Differences in Learning Approaches

Learning Modalities

Group Size


Learning Disabilities

Synthesizing vs. Analyzing

3. Dealing With Stress


Management of Test Anxiety

Ability vs. Effort

4. Teaching Math to the Female Brain

Performance in Math

Why Girls Don't Like Math

What Can Be Done to Help?

5. Teaching Science to the Female Brain

Why Girls Don't Like Science

Why Girls Should Do Well in Science

What Can Be Done to Help?

6. Teaching Math and Science to Girls in a Coed School
Sociocultural Issues

Role Models

Verbal vs. Visual Approach

Singe-Sex Classes or Programs

Practical Applications

7. Gendered Instruction
Virginia Standards of Learning

Differentiated Instruction

Multiple Intelligences

Learning Modalities

Unit Design

Empowering Girls as Learners

Test-Taking Strategies

Final Words

8. Resources and Other Helps
Math Techniques


Web Sites

Learning Style Assessments


"I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time. James combines sound, up-to-date scholarship with effective, practical advice. Whether you teach girls or boys or both, this book is an invaluable resource for classroom strategies and professional growth."

Patricia D. Parisi, Principal
St. Clement's School, Toronto, ON, Canada

"Informed by extensive experience in same-gender school settings, and a good deal of introspection regarding her own tendencies, her suggestions are informative and practical. The author moves from helping students deal with stress, to teaching science and mathematics to girls--making suggestions along the way for what might be helpful in everyday classroom situations."

D. E. Tanner
California State University of Fresno

"A worthy successor to James’ groundbreaking book, Teaching the Male Brain. This book complements and builds upon other seminal works rooted in brain-based research. However, the point of view is that of an expert practitioner, and each observation about how girls’ brains work and how girls learn is accompanied by voluminous and practical examples that teachers can use daily in their classrooms. This book should be required reading for all who teach girls in both single-sex and coed settings. Reading it will optimize the experience of girls in America’s classrooms."

Patrick F. Bassett, President
National Association of Independent Schools

"James’ text is a wonderful resource for teachers and parents of girls. The practical suggestions for math and science teachers are an absolute highlight. If educators read and follow the encouraging suggestions in this book, more girls would be empowered to succeed in math and science."

Kate Broadley, Researcher
Alliance of Girls’ Schools

"Teaching the Female Brain offers research-based insights for educators and administers to recognize and develop strategies that better meet the preferences of female learners.You are certain to learn something from this book that will inform how you approach your work as a mathematics educator."

Mark W. Ellis, California State University Fullerton
Mathematics Teacher Magazine, May 2011 (Vol. 104, No. 9)
Key features
  • Provides basic information on neurobiology as it pertains to gender differences in cognition
  • In separate chapters, explores why girls don't like math and science, offers teachers specific strategies for differentiating instruction in these subjects, and provides ways to create positive experiences for female students
  • Includes up-to-date findings on hot topics, including left versus right brain learning, styles or modalities of learning, math anxiety, co-ed versus single-sex classes, and more
  • Begins each chapter with a quiz on preconceived notions of the learning differences between girls and boys

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781452208558

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