Home > education, general > Single-sex classrooms on the increase

Single-sex classrooms on the increase

According to some news reports, single-sex classrooms are increasing in some parts of the States. This idea isn’t new, but I hadn’t heard much about it for awhile. According to one report, the single-sex classrooms “increased their grades, self-confidence, interest in trying new ways of learning, class participation and ease in making friends.”

I’ve personally never figured out if I’m for or against this form of education, because I haven’t researched it enough. I think I’ve gone back and forth on this issue before, because there are of course pros and cons to this. The National Association for Single Sex Public Education state the many pros of this classroom setting.

We now have good evidence that single-sex classrooms CAN break down gender stereotypes, particularly when teachers have appropriate professional development. Girls in single-sex educational settings are more likely to take classes in math, science, and information technology. Boys in single-gender classrooms…are much more likely to pursue interests in art, music, drama, and foreign languages. Both girls and boys have more freedom to explore their own interests and abilities than in the coed classroom.

The Association of course does make it known that you can’t just set up single-sex classrooms and leave it at that. They make it known that teachers and administrators must be trained and understand the methods of teaching for these single-sex classrooms.

The ACLU on the other hand is opposed to single-sex classrooms. They state,

In addition to being unlawful, the rationale behind sex-segregated academic programs is bad for kids. These programs are often based on questionable science about how girls’ and boys’ brains develop and on disturbing gender stereotypes.

The ACLU explains some of the stereotypes, and believes that co-education is beneficial for girls and boys.

So, what is your take? Do you believe that single-sex classrooms are a good or bad thing? Or, are you not sure? Take the poll!

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  1. Emmy
    November 18, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Personally I went to an all-girls school my whole life pre-college so I can’t compare it to anything else. Certainly it was a highly-ranked school and produced many scientists and so on…

    I agree with teh ACLU that the things they’re quoting sound dumb and sexist. You don’t have to teach people differently because they’re boys or girls… you have to judge each person individually. But one of the benefits of single-sex education is that it helps counter subtle sexism, like teachers calling on boys more (who usually don’t realise they’re doing it) or the embarassment factors with hormonal teenagers who feel more capable of stretching gender roles when the opposite sex isn’t watching them do it.

    Also, more kids should play “Science Girls!” the game. 🙂

    • November 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

      Thanks for this comment and voicing your opinion. I can imagine that going to an all-girls school up until college makes you have a more solid opinion, unlike myself.

      I agree about the whole teaching on an individual level thing. Although this might be difficult in a large classroom setting, it’s still something that teachers should try. And I also agree about how single-sex classrooms can eliminate subtle sexism, for sure. So, there are clearly things that need to be worked on, so I’m thinking more and more that single-sex classrooms are an easy way out solution, and that girls and boys should be kept together, but that teachers need to be more mindful of different teaching styles and their subtle (or at times possible overt) sexism.

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