The contentious topic of single gender classrooms is again in the spotlight with some policy makers considering gender-specific educational settings in public schools. Although some private schools already have this practice, not all agree that this is the best environment for K-12 students.
Single sex education is common in the 1800’s but this changed as the years go by when mixed-gender school environments started to sprout like mushrooms in the 19th century. And although some countries still prefer single gender classrooms, the percentage of mixed-gender schools has increased. There are parents and sectors who maintain that there are more benefits single gender education offers while there are also those who say there are no specific advantages or setbacks proven. Some also emphasize this practice can even be harmful. Here is a look what the proponents and opponents of single gender classrooms have to say.
List of Pros of Single Gender Classrooms
1. Educators can design their teaching style according to gender.
Advocates say that single gender classrooms make it easier for teachers to prepare gender-specific lessons for students. According to studies, boys and girls have different preferences when it comes to learning behaviors. Males are usually more on physical activities while females prefer more interaction with their peers. With this observation in mind, supporters of single gender classrooms say that educators can adjust their teaching style according to gender.
2. They lessen distractions.
Some parents who are in favor of single gender classrooms claim that separating girls from boys will keep students more focused in studying since they will not be conscious of being with members of the opposite sex. They say that having mixed students in a classroom can encourage these kids to get into early relationships as opposed to being in class with only girls or boys.
3. Boys and girls prefer different temperature settings.
Proponents say that usually girls prefer warmer temperatures while boys are more comfortable learning in cooler temperatures. By separating girls from boys in classrooms, school administrators can design their classrooms and set the temperature specifically for boys or girls. If the classroom is conducive for learning, students will be motivated to attend classes and participate in class recitations.
4. They lessen the pressure on students.
Supporters of single gender classroom settings point out that when students are in a mixed-gender setting, there might be some pressure on both girls and boys when it comes to particular subjects like science and mathematics since boys are more comfortable in these subjects while girls excel more in poetry and music. In an all gender classroom, there will be less pressure for both girls and boys and students will be more confident in academics.
5. Research shows that female graduates of single gender education excel more academically than those who come from mixed-gender classroom settings.
Supporters of single gender classrooms point out the outcomes of researches which yielded results that put more weight on gender-specific educational systems where girls score higher on SAT tests and those who were included in the studies say that they spend more time reviewing and doing homework while in high school than those who are distracted with the presence and attention of boys in a classroom where they co-existed.
List of Cons of Single Gender Classrooms
1. This type of environment will not prepare some boys and girls to interact with the opposite sex.
Opponents of single gender classroom environments argue that in some point of their lives, boys and girls will have to co-exist with each other, particularly after college. Work environments, in particular, comprise male and female employees. Being used to people of the same gender might pose a problem once the need to interact with the opposite sex sets in.
2. Single gender classroom settings are not fit for some boys and girls.
Some students work well when with peers of the same gender. Conversely, there are those who are will shine better when in a mixed-classroom setting. There are assertive kids who might intimidate other students in single gender classroom environments. Because of this, critics argue that single gender education does not work at all times and careful consideration should be made before enrolling children in schools.
3. Not all educators are prepared to teach in gender-specific type of environment.
Just as school children might not fit in single gender classrooms, there are also teachers who might not have the skills and preference to teach single gender students. Although educators can use different teaching styles, not all can adapt to teaching all boys or all girls for that matter. For critics, this can affect the type of education children will be getting as well as teaching efficiencies of some teachers.
4. Other options are available to bring out the best in students other than gender-specific settings.
There are a myriad of ways to enhance their skills and abilities in the classroom instead of focusing on single gender education. For those who are against this setting, they believe that the education system should be something that promotes a combination of male and female students and not limit it to gender, color or status.
5. Children, at an early age, should be taught to co-exist so they can face the world’s challenges head on.
There is no doubt, the male and female species are different in so many ways. People who oppose single gender classrooms say that preparing students to be with peers of the opposite sex will teach them these differences and make it easier for them to adapt to situations and understand that men and women can compromise and complement each other. On the other hand, single gender classroom settings can affect the social skills of students.
The issue if single gender classrooms are ideal for students will remain a divided topic and controversial. With the views expressed by supporters and critics, deciding whether this is the perfect educational setting can be difficult. Enrolling students in any school needs a lot of consideration and should not only be based on gender. At the end of the day, the parents should talk to their kids when it comes to the type of education they believe suits their children.