Single-Sex Classrooms

Posted: August 12th, 2013





Single-sex Classrooms

            Single-sex class rooms as the name suggests refers to classrooms that have students of only one sex, either male or female. This method of education is called single-sex or single-gender education. In this method, the male and female students attended classes in different classrooms within the same school or in different schools all together. Prior to the nineteenth century, this was the main method used in all educational institutions. However, secondary schools and institutions of higher education like universities used this method only while junior institutions could have both genders in the same classroom or school. During the latter years of the nineteenth century, things however took a turn whereby people started protesting against this method of education. Their protests were based on the lack of equality on the institutions in question. The issue of single-sex classrooms has been debated for several years now but what has been concluded is that it has advantages and disadvantages just as the coeducational system does.

For instance, the male schools were considered to have better facilities and their students were given prominence over their female counterparts when it came to job opportunities. For this reason, the protestors wanted fairer treatment or for the system to be scraped all together. Contrary to several people’s expectations, this campaign grew and had a large number of supporters. Therefore, many researchers have decided to investigate the claims that were brought up against the single-gender system of education. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, there was an upsurge of co educational schools in Europe especially. The coeducational schools admitted both genders into the same school and classroom. This was a significant change from the previous years where this action was considered unimaginable.

Conversely, even with the establishment of coeducational schools, some people still defended the single-gender education system, as opposed to the coeducational system. In a short period, the coeducation system was adopted in several countries all over the world. As much as the coeducation tradition became more popular, come countries still had several schools that were based on the single-sex education method. Such countries included United Kingdom, Israel, Australia and the greater majority of the Muslim countries that followed the Sharia law. Single sex education has advantages and disadvantages that have been noted over the years. Supporters of the system claim that it has more advantages than the coeducation system while the reverse is true for the critics of the system. For this reason, the issue of the single-sex education is considered a very controversial issue. Supporters claim that the single-sex education system enables students to perform better than when they enroll in the coeducational system.            Opponents, on the other hand, claim that these claims have not been proven and are baseless. For this reason, the matter has never been settled. Several researchers have taken up the matter in a bid to prove whether the system is indeed as good as the supporters claim or if it is the reverse, as the opponents’ state. The government funded some of the research while some private institution funded some others. Ultimately, it was decided that it was the decision of the parents to decide where they will send their children for their education. They may decide on either of the systems based on their needs for their children and the notion that they have on the matter. Most of the remaining single-sex schools are boarding schools and some are under the leadership of the church. For instance, in England, most single-gender schools are boarding schools that are under the leadership of the Catholic Church. Most parents who travel a lot in the course of their careers opt for such schools for their children. On the other hand, parents who not travel as often preferred to remain in proximity to their children and send them to the coeducation schools in their neighborhoods (Gurian, 56).

Article 1 from textbook

Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers wrote this article on the issue of single-sex education. These two authors have written many works that pertain to this controversial matter. In this particular article, the authors state unequivocally that the differences in gender should not be the basis of the curriculum. That is, the curriculum should not be created based on the genders but rather on the betterment of both genders as one. They state that instead of focusing on the genders, they should come up with ways to improve all the genders for the society to view them as equals rather than one gender being more superior to the other. The article uses an example of the City of Boston. The School Superintendent of Boston wanted to create two public schools based on the single-sex system. The schools were to be a women’s leadership academy and a men’s public service academy (Barnet, 850).

By the use of this situation, the authors have explained in detail why the matter is irrational and not beneficial for the citizens in Boston. This is because the city had planned to cut its costs during the financial period in question. However, the establishment of two single-sex school was to be very expensive since instead of the construction of one school, they intended to build two, for each gender. In addition to this, the success of the single-sex education system was shrouded in controversy and its success was, therefore, unproven. This is because several researchers had proved that the issue of gender was an inconsequential factor that determined or affected the success or failure of a school and its students. Spending such, a huge sum of money based on several people’s opinions seemed to be a rather unwarranted decision by the Superintendent of Boston City.

In addition, the authors go on to provide reports obtained by several prominent researchers in this field. Supporter of the single- sex system claim that there is a difference in the way girls and boys process information, perceive matters and generally think. For this reasons, they suggests the inception of the single-sex system in order to ensure that both genders receive the information as best suited for them. In the case of coeducation, the instructors have to compromise in order to provide what both genders require. Establishment of the single-sex school, therefore, avoids the conflict of interest and both genders can get the best education based on their preferences. The authors have stated, in response to this notion, that scientists had discredited the theory of the difference in thinking several years ago. The researchers had discovered that there was not a severe difference in the way males and females thought.

As much as there were some differences in the brain structure and its functions in both genders, this should not have been considered the reason behind the claim that there also existed a difference in the cognitive abilities of the two genders in question. However, most of the teachers had already accepted the myth that the male and female students thought differently and they have infused this theory into the students’ heads. Based on this, the authors have provided an example of a teacher in South Carolina who stated that girls understand science more by analyzing cosmetics. On the other hand, since the males are alleged to have verbal weakness, they should be given books based or war events rather than the literature classics. This should not be the same since such a teacher makes the students believe in the weaknesses they are claimed to have. However, such teachers should consider why they support the claims of male students being weak in literature yet several prolific writers like Shakespeare were male.

In the case of females who are believed to be weak in math and science, scientists like Marie Curie should be considered in order to stop the myth from spreading even further. Finally, the authors analyze the success rate of the single-sex schools. Is it based on the differentiation in gender or by the methods employed in teaching the students? The single-sex system is made appealing by the levels of success that the schools boast of. Nevertheless, contrary to several people’s beliefs the success does not originate on the fact that the students have been separated but rather on the hard work they students and teachers put in. Students in such schools are motivated and the school provides all the amenities that they require in order to succeed. The authors state categorically that the inception of these schools will cost a lot of money but the outcome may not be promising. Instead of creating new single-sex schools, the government should use the money to provide more amenities to the existing schools.

This will prove beneficial since their performance will improve dramatically. The maintenance of the single-sex schools will also become unbearable for the government and they will collapse, making the venture a complete failure. For this reason, the article has addressed the matter of single-sex education in detail by providing the reasons why it is not suitable especially in the United States of America and particularly in Boston. The article has outlined the disadvantages associated with the inception of the schools. In addition to this, the authors have suggested reasonable options that maybe made in order to improve the quality of education provided in the country. If these recommendations were taken into consideration, the public schools would enjoy the same levels of success the single-sex schools enjoy now.

Article 2 from textbook

This second article has been obtained from the recommended text that was used throughout the course. Sally Reed has written it. In this article, the author supports the notion that boys and girls thrive while in different environments for instance the classroom (Barnet, 865). Therefore, the single-sex schools are more suitable for the students. The author has based her opinion on the results of several researchers and medical facts that pertain to the matter of the cognitive differences that occur in ales and females. She takes the side of the single-sex system since she considers it to have a greater and more positive effect on the students in question. By taking up single-gender education in the country, she explains that the teachers will be able to address the specific needs of the students they have. For this reason, the performance of the students in question will undoubtedly improve dramatically.

With such an improvement, the nation will also improve since they have capable people who join the ever-versatile job market. Subsequently the economy of the country will get better. For this reason, the author advocates for the inception of single-sex school all over the country. The developments of the brains of males and females have several different aspects. Differences in the behaviors of the two genders are claimed to be because of these differences. By the differences, most people imagine gigantic differences like the brain size for example. However, this is not the case; the differences are minute to say the least but they affect the genders quite adversely. One of these variations is that the area of speech in the brain in females is significantly larger than that of the males. For this reason, the females are alleged to be better I English Literature and poetry.

However, this notion has been disputed since there are some males who are great poets and writers. Researchers have proven that boys benefit more from the single-sex schools than their counterparts do. This maybe attributed to the level of discipline that they obtain from such settings. It is common knowledge that boys are very active especially in the case of children between five and ten years. This hyperactivity causes them to joke around in class and they often miss what the teacher is teaching. Consequently, the performance of the boys is a lot worse. In the case of single-sex classrooms, the teachers use the hyperactivity of the children to their advantage by creating a more engaging environment for them to learn. The creation of such a curriculum makes the focus more on the education since it is fun and they do not have to play and ignore what the teacher is teaching. Therefore, the young will be learning while still having fun and will undoubtedly perform much better.

In the case of girls, one of the attributes they posses is shyness. In a coeducational classroom, the girls talk in very rare occurrences. For this reason, they are not able to ask any questions of they do not understand what the teacher is teaching. Establishment of a single-sex classroom will change this remarkably. It has been noted that the girls talk more and participate more in class if they are in a single-sex classroom. This is because they do not have to compete for attenti0on with the males who are generally more rowdy. The method of learning used in such girls’ schools is not purely based on activities, but they are rather quiet like the traditional system. This method works best for the girls and their performance picks up. Based on these differences in learning, the single-sex education system is better. This is because it will have a positive effect on both genders in the positive. Therefore, girls and boys thrive in different classrooms.

 Article 1 from database

This article has been obtained form an online database that contains scholarly articles on various matters. The article compares the controversial issue of the benefits of single-sex education against the disadvantages it may have on the students, teachers and nation at large. This article has used the example of characters in the bestselling book Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling to illustrate this matter. The author has compared the research and findings with the occurrences in this series of books. Most people may consider this unwise since the book is purely fictional, but it is acceptable since the writer is not presenting vague ideas. On the contrary, the author of the book has infused several occurrences that occur in the day-to-day lives of people. This article answers the question; “would have the two main characters have done better in single-sex classes?”(Younger and Warrington, 580)

The series consists of seven books each a depiction of one year of schooling at a school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The story revolves around three characters, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The story follows their friendship all through their years in school. From the characters, the school is coeducational and has both female and male students. The article with several references to these characters seeks to discredit the single-sex system of education. In addition to this, the article also encompasses a review of the single-sex schools in the United Kingdom. Several examples have been given to explain why the single-sex system should not be adopted. The main reason is that its positive effects have not been proven, but are rather a result of several peoples’ opinions with relation to the matter. The author of this article has decided to use the illustrations from the book Harry Potter since several people would identify with it since it is a common book.

This would enable even the younger readers to understand what he was trying to explain in his article. As stated before, the disadvantages of the single-sex system outweigh the advantages associates with it. There is a general claim that the females are inferior to their counterparts when it comes to subjects like mathematics and science that require a lit of analytical thinking. From this opinion, the males were considered cleverer than the females. However, in the book Harry Potter, the author has discredited this notion by creating a superbly brilliant young girl, Hermione. As the book and several events unravel, the brilliance of Hermione is depicted more openly. At one time, during a lesson, Hermione helps her friend Ron to perform a spell, which he was unable to perform. From this occurrence, he advantages of the coeducation system are visible.

Hermione would have performed well in any school, whether single-sex or coeducational. Harry and Ron on the other hand would have probably performed a lot worse without Hermione. For this reason, the performance would not have improved if they were in single-sex classroom. In subsequent occasions, Hermione helped her friends, Harry and Ron, academically. Based on this, the coeducational system is a better alternative to single-gender education. This is because it enables the students to form a good relationship with each other and members of the opposite sex. For this reason, the good relationship enables them to help each other out if they have problems in class. In addition to this, they are exposed to several other personalities and this enables them to get prepared for the world, which has several different personalities. In the case of the negative, the article states that the single-sex educational system is more beneficial even without concrete proof from researchers. They claim that this is because the results are evident in the performance and discipline the students in the single-sex schools display. The greater number of the girls’ schools have brought about a concern about the success levels of their counterpart male students.

This is because there are claims that the male students are performing poorly compared to the females. This is attributed to the fact tat most single-sex schools are female. For this reason, there have been recommendations to set up more boys’ schools in order to improve their performance. Supporters of the single-sex system claim that the system enables the students to develop independence and individuality as opposed to the coeducational system that exposes them to peer-pressure for instance. For this reason, students from single-sex institutions are perceived to perform better and to be more independent. In addition to this, they also have higher levels of discipline. This has formed the basis for their support on the single-gender system.  This article has effectively explained both the benefits and disadvantages that are associated with the issue of the single-sex education system. By the provision of this information, the reader is able to make a well-informed decision pertaining to the issue of single-gender education.

Article 2 from database

This article has been obtained from a database as well. The author, Gerald Bracey, is an independent researcher on the issue of single-sex education and its repercussions on the society. The article has provided a detailed history of the inception of the single-sex schools, how they were abolished and the coeducational schools took over. The provision of this history enables the reader to understand why the system was put in place and why the instructors reverted to the coeducation system. In addition to this, the readers also get to know why the present supporters want to reinstate this method of learning in the country. This article has also provided the reasons behind the advocates’ intention to revert to the single-sex education system. The opposers have also given reasons why the system should not be adopted in the country. From this particular article, the reasons the advocates have seem to be more reasonable than those of the opposers are.

This is because they dwell on one point but they just paraphrase it differently each time making it sound different yet it is the same thing. The opposing group claims that the single-sex system enforces sexism, which they are trying to eradicate. Advocates on the other hand state that sexism has been there and will continue to exist even without the establishment of the single-sex schools. This is because two different genders exist and they have different methods of thinking. The single-sex education system will not have a magnanimous effect on sexism since it is already present in the society. The advantages associated with the single-gender system are numerous according to the author. This is in comparison to the coeducation system. For instance in the case of females, the single-sex system has led to the improvement of their self esteem as opposed to when they are in the coeducational schools.

This is because they are able to accept themselves as they are and for this reason, they become more comfortable with themselves. In addition to this, the presence of other girls around makes the acceptance faster since they all identify with each  other’s problems and can help each other out if need arises. It was also noted that in the single-sex schools girls enrolled into courses that they often avoided in the coeducational setting. These courses included engineering and architecture mainly. This was because there was a perception that girls could not pursue those courses since they were difficult and so only the boys could pursue them. However, in the single-sex schools, the notion of superiority is not there and more girls venture into these courses. Another advantage of the single-sex system is that the behaviors of the boys are controlled better in that setting.

Boys are commonly rowdy and may not be controlled I some situations. Single-sex schools on the other hand are able to control the boys and instill discipline in them simply by their approach to them. This may not be effective in the coeducational schools since a change in the learning system would affect the girls in the school adversely.  For this reason, the single-sex system is a more effective learning system. Adolescence in the coeducational schools brings about many distractions for the students. The distraction is mainly due to the changes the students undergo at this time. Subsequently, the performance of the students is affected by the ‘distractions’ that ensue. Presence of the single-sex schools avoids such distractions and therefore, the students’ performance remains unaffected. In addition to this, problems like teenage pregnancies that occur often in the coeducational schools are avoided in the single-sex schools.

With the numerous advantages the author has brought to light, he supports the single-sex school system. He has given several recommendations that may be used in order to ensure that the controversy is solved to some extent. The author does not believe in the establishment of only one system that should be uses in all the learning institutions in the country. However, he also has no problem with the inception of the single-gender institutions for the students and parents who prefer them. Opposition of the single-sex system completely is completely irrational since there are some students who prefer them and perform better in such institutions. For this reason, the country should accord freedom to the citizens to establish and enroll their students in whichever institution that they prefer. This will ensure the controversy ends as the author states (Bracey, 42).

 Article 1 from other independent sources

A freelance writer has written this article on behalf of the great schools corporation. It focuses on the pros and cons of the single-sex education system. The author has explained briefly what the single-sex education entails and has further explains what factors affect the decision of the parents to enroll their students into the single-sex education systems. Afterwards the author has explained the pros and cons of this system separately and in remarkable detail. Finally, the author has outlined how the public has responded to this debate and their opinions towards the matter of single-sex education. The pros for the single-sex system are based on the difference in the learning abilities of the different genders. The differences that boys and girls have when it comes to learning have warranted the need for the establishment of the single-gender classrooms in several schools. Most parents who have enrolled their children into the single-sex classrooms seem very happy with the results, as the author has noted. Such parents have then told other parents who have resorted to this system too. This is the reason why such schools are becoming more common in the country. The author has also obtained a lot of information from researchers who have conducted several studies in this field.

The results show that the single-sex education has several advantages especially in the case of the performance of the children as opposed to the coeducational system. The article by enlisting the use of the researcher makes it more credible to the readers. On the other hand, the author has listed the cons that are associated with the single-gender system. For instance, she states that the system may not be successful since very few teachers are trained to teach specific genders. For this reason, the teachers may use wrong methods to teach their students and this may affect the students’ performance generally. The other cons revolve round the negative effect the system will have on the students in their later years. For instance, since the students are used to interacting with the same gender, they will have a difficult time associating with members of the opposite sex in the case of the employment areas for example. What the critics who claim this forget is that the students interact with each other after school and during the holidays. For this reason, their claims are rather baseless and the single-sex education system is advantageous based on the information provided in this article (Stanberry, 1).

Article 2 from other independent sources

This article is based on the legal battles that ensued when sine public schools took up the single-sex education system. The author is Abigail Pesta, a freelance writer. The article addresses how successful single-sex education is. There was a lawsuit against a public school because it had initiated the single-sex system as a voluntary experiment to determine hoe effective it was. The performance of the students improved a lot and as a result, more students enrolled into the program. The principal established the single-sex classrooms after he attended a seminar by a psychologist, Leonard Sax. Sax provided them with suggestions on how to set up the system in their schools. In addition to this, he also explained the advantages that were associated with this method of learning. Impressed by the advantages, the principal initiated the program that became a success.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit. ACLU did this on behalf of one parent whose three daughters schooled in the same school in question. They complained that there was gender inequality in the single-sex classroom system. For instance, the boys’ classrooms were better lit than the girls’ classrooms and this was considered unfair. The principal defended his actions by stating that the male students need a more active environment in order to participate and concentrate during the lesson. The more active environment included the installation of brighter lights and more colorful wallpaper. For the female students, this was not necessary since they concentrate in a calm environment. His response to the claims was accepted since Sax also supported his claim. This article has addressed the debate that has been going on over the years about the single-sex education method system. The author has provided an example of a scenario in which the controversy came up (Pesta, 1).

The issue of single-sex education will not be solved by the endless lawsuits that are filled against institution which have the system. The only solution would be a compromise between the advocates and the opposers of this matter. In such a compromise, they will accept the single-sex classroom system if it is voluntary for the patents and the students. This would be effective since it will now be the decision of the parents rather than the opposers or advocates of the matter. If this suggestion is not implemented, the controversy will see no end since no system will be accepted without some disapproval. In my opinion, single-gender education is very effective as has been proven by the performance of the students who learn using this system.






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