Teaching Boys in the Montessori Environment: Neuroscience & Hormonal Learning Differences

NAMC montessori teaching boys understanding neuroscience and hormones. group of boys

Thousands of bright, energetic boys are spending the better part of each day unhappy and coming home to report to their parents that they feel ‘stupid’ or that they ‘don’t fit in’.
Beth Hering, “Help boys get more out of elementary education”

Girls do better than boys in school at all ages and subjects
Maggie Fox, NBC News, 4/29/14

A link between fidgety boys and a sputtering economy
David Leonhardt, The Upshot, New York Times, 4/29/14

In this day of standardized, one-size-fits-all education, these findings should amaze and astonish us. Yet, as you read, I know that many of you are nodding your heads in agreement. Boys are, for the majority, unhappy in school. They are falling behind, being expelled, and dropping out at staggering rates.

Teaching Boys in the Montessori Environment: Part One
Understanding Neuroscience and Hormonal Learning Differences

A 2014 report from the Third Way, a US centrist think tank, states that:

  • by kindergarten, girls are more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, persistent, flexible, and independent than boys. The gap grows in later years.
  • by 8th grade, 48% of girls receive As and Bs, compared to 31% of boys

In their book, The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, authors Gurian and Stevens contend that boys are:

  • 4.5 times more likely than girls to be expelled in preschool
  • 6–18 months behind girls in reading and writing at all elementary school levels
  • 80% of discipline and behavioral problems in schools
  • 80% of the school-age children on Ritalin
  • get up to 70% of the Ds and Fs on report cards

more here

Part two

Recognizing Boys’ Learning Differences in the Montessori Environment

NAMC montessori recognizing boys learning differences. group of boys

In our previous blog, we looked the ways neurological and hormonal differences affect the learning and behavior of boys and girls. Knowing that these biological differences are central to children’s development, we must strive to prepare the Montessori environment to both foster equal opportunities for all children and to recognize the fundamental biological differences between boys and girls.

Teaching Boys in the Montessori Environment: Part Two
Recognizing Boys’ Learning Differences in the Montessori Environment

Boys Are More Physical

In general, young boys are much more physical than young girls. While it may seem counterintuitive to some teachers, boys actually need movement to help them focus and pay attention. Current research suggests that when a boy is at rest, as much as 70% of his brain shuts down. In contrast, 90% of the female brain remains active. (Morhard, 2015) This means that girls can pay attention when sitting still in a classroom, but when boys sit still, their brains shut down.


part II


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