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The Debate on Gender Specific Schools

Market: Education

Gender-SignsAt one point in your school experience, did you ever think it would be nice to get rid of a kid or kids who were the opposite sex? It’s always been a competition between girls and boys. I remember how the boys would chase us on the playground. The girls thought that the boys had cooties so we would taunt and tease them, then run! The monkey bars were a safe spot and the boys couldn’t get you there. We sometimes tattled on them so I’m sure they wished they could get rid of us too.

There’s no doubt about it! Boys and girls have their differences. This is probably one of the many reasons that “all boy” and “all girl” schools exist.

Single gender schooling is a hot topic of debate. Are boys and girls really wired differently? If girls and boys learn in different ways, does it makes sense to separate them? Are there other factors we might want to consider? What about the benefits of socializing and learning in a co-ed environment? What might be better for your kids? Is single gender classrooms or schools better than coed classes?

I’ve heard the argument and I like some of the reasons for supporting single sex classrooms. Separating boys and girls benefits both sexes especially when they are younger. For example, girls mature faster than boys so at a younger age, girls have longer attention spans than boys. In a single sex classroom, students might try things based on what they want versus what is gender popular.  Sometimes social issues such as boys and girls distracting each other is reduced in a single gender classroom.

One of the reasons I’m not as crazy about the idea of having my kids in a single sex classroom is that children are more likely to accept gender stereotypes when they go to an all-boys or all-girls school. Parents have also observed that kids in single gender schools tend to play or interact less with kids of the opposite sex. In the long term, students attending single gender schools are comfortable with their role with other students of the same gender which is not the case in the “real world”.

Perhaps one of the most revealing research on single sex versus co-education is Single-Sex Versus Coeducational Schooling: A Systematic Review. This study was funded by the federal Department of Education and was released in 2005. What were the findings? Basically it concludes that there is not enough evidence to suggest single sex education is better than co-education or vice-versa.

One study performed at the UCLA Grad School of Education found that girls who attended single sex high schools scored higher than girls who attended coed high schools. Test scores included SAT, mathematical ability and computer skills.

Our Screenflex Room Dividers are great for dividing a classroom in half. When you want the benefit of separating the boys from the girls temporarily, why not try a Screenflex room divider. They also work well to create smaller work areas like a distraction free test taking area or a quiet spot for kids to go after they finished their work to read a book or do homework without distracting the class.

If you have the choice of sending your kids to a single gender school or coed school, what would you prefer and why?


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