Single-sex education


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This is a project for my Gender and Communication course.

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Single-sex education

  1. 1. THE DEBATE: SINGLE-SEX EDUCATION<br />Ashley Nelson<br />
  2. 2. SINGLE-SEX SCHOOLS VS. COEDUCATIONAL SCHOOLS<br />Watch the following video clips to learn more information about this hot debate:<br />Separate Classrooms? Part 1<br />Separate Classrooms? Part 2<br />
  3. 3. Education in America: The Early Years<br />Boys were primarily formally educated.<br />Efforts to open formal education to women continued during the early and mid-nineteenth century with the creation of separate schools and programs for women only (McNergney and McNergney 81). <br />Now most schools are coeducational, but some remain single-sex because of the potential benefits.<br /> Single-sex education is where boys and girls are taught in separate classrooms or schools. <br />
  4. 4. Pros of Single-Sex Education <br />Boys and girls are different psychologically and socially. <br />For example, girls’ and boys’ friendships are different because the affective feeling of intimacy is higher for a girl (Cassidy 43-44).<br /> “… [Girls’ schools] can give students a message that female friendships are important and that women can trust each other. That’s something that sounds like a no-brainer, but many women without the experience of a single-sex school don’t really understand it until their thirties or later” (DeBare 150). <br />
  5. 5. Pros of Single-Sex Education <br />Boys and girls are different cognitively. <br />Females have better memory capacity and verbal abilities. <br />Males and females use different parts of the brain. <br />
  6. 6. Pros of Single-Sex Education <br />Boys and girls have different learning styles. <br />“Proponents say it eliminates the distraction of the opposite sex and allows teachers to accommodate boys’ and girls’ supposedly different learning styles” (Vail 33). <br />Some argue that boys tend to dominate Mathematics especially because the approach they use corresponds with the teachers’ attitudes and beliefs. The teacher teaches the way boys learn. <br />Gender differences definitely play a role in the single-sex classroom. <br />
  7. 7. Pros of Single-Sex Education<br />Because of the difference in learning styles it has affected children’s literacy in particular. <br />Boy Writers by Ralph Fletcher explores the argument that boys are often shortchanged in schools. Because of this, boys tend to lose interest in writing for a number of reasons. Hence, boys should be given the opportunity to create their own topic, choose, and write whatever they want. Teachers should engage male students in classroom discussions that promote a safe and comfortable environment. Teachers should avoid judging male students’ writing. Teachers need to be aware of the comments they say to male students. <br />Girls need to be taught in a way that meets their unique needs. <br />“Virtually every girl’s school today is sensitive to areas that have been historic “trouble spots” for girls, such as math, science, and technology, and they put special attention into teaching these subjects. Girls’ schools typically view their mission as extending beyond academics to address the social and emotional challenges facing girls, such as issues of self-esteem, body image, and sexuality. They are committed to including female role models and voices within the curriculum” (DeBare 309). <br />
  8. 8. Pros of Single-Sex Education<br />Interactions between the teacher and students are based on gender. A single-sex environment eliminates this. <br />Girls are often shortchanged and unchallenged in the classroom. <br />“They found that subtle sexism persisted even in the best coed classrooms. Teachers called on boys more often, gave more constructive criticism to boys, and praised boys more. When girls got feedback from teachers, it was often in their dress and appearance” (DeBare 203). <br />There also is a gender bias in teachers’ written comments. Teachers perceive male and female students’ work with partiality. <br />
  9. 9. Pros of Single-Sex Education <br />Many students find it easier to focus on academics and participate in class when they are not disturbed by members of the opposite sex (“Co-ed vs. Single Sex Schools”). <br />Students enjoy the camaraderie that often connects same-sex classmates. <br />
  10. 10. Cons of Single-Sex Education <br />In reference to Title IX, single-sex schools can cause a lot of concern. <br />On June 23, 1972, Title IX took effect. This landmark legislation states that: "no person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid" (Curtis and Grant). <br />This improved the education system; however, there are limitations. <br />The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that single-sex education is illegal and violates Title IX (“Single-Sex Education: The Pros and Cons”). <br />A single-sex educational environment allows for more gender separation and inequality. <br />
  11. 11. Cons of Single-Sex Education <br />There is a lack of the opposite sex in a single-sex environment.<br /> Therefore, there is much less diversity in a single-sex environment. <br />A single-sex learning environment is unrealistic because the real world is not just all male or all female. <br />Single-sex education does not prepare students for life. <br />
  12. 12. Cons of Single-Sex Education <br />The differences between genders vary greatly from person to person. <br />All females are not the same. All males are not the same. It is hard to make generalizations.<br />“For example, a sensitive boy might be intimidated by a teacher who "gets in his face" and speaks loudly believing "that's what boys want and need to learn" (“Single-Sex Education: The Pros and Cons”). <br />The claims made by supporters of single-sex education are not true of everyone. <br />
  13. 13. Final Thoughts… <br />There is no clear answer to this issue. <br />An ideal learning environment is where both genders are targeted in a gender-inclusive setting.<br />“[Single-sex education critics] say that a better solution is to make sure that teachers in all schools treat all students equally so that males and females have the same educational opportunities and support” (Wood 200). <br />Boys and girls do not need to be separated. If educators understand the differences and tailor instruction to met the needs of all students.<br />
  14. 14. Additional Videos<br />Gender Inequalities <br />Why Gender Matters<br />Mixed Gender or Same Sex Classrooms<br />MSNBC Debate <br />Same Sex Education<br />14<br />
  15. 15. Resources<br />Barnes, Linda Laube. "Gender Bias in Teachers' Written Comments." Gender in the Classroom Power and Pedagogy. Eds. Susan Gabriel and Isaiah Smithson. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1990. 140-159. <br />Bell, Karen, and Karen Norwood. "Gender Equity Intersects With Mathematics and Technology: Problem-Solving Education for Changing Times." Gender in the Classroom. Eds. David M. Sadker and Ellen S. Silber. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2007. 225-258. <br />Cassidy, Kimberly Wright. "Gender Differences in Cognitive Ability, Attitudes, and Behavior." Gender in the Classroom. Eds. David M. Sadker and Ellen S. Silber. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2007. 33-72. <br />"Co-ed vs. Single Sex Schools." University Language Services. N.p., 2010. Web. 19 June 2010.<>. <br />Curtis, Mary, and Christine Grant. "About Title IX." University of Iowa. N.p., 2006. Web. 19 June 2010. <>. <br />DeBare, Ilana. Where Girls Come First. New York: Penguin Group, 2004. <br />Fletcher, Ralph. Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices. Portland: Stenhouse Publishers, 2006. Print. <br />Goldberg, Gail Lynn, and Barbara Sherr Roswell. Reading, Writing, and Gender. Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education, Inc., 2002. <br />McNergney, Joanne, and Robert F. McNergney. Education: The Practice and Profession of Teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2009. <br /> <br />
  16. 16. Resources<br />Meyer, Peter. "Learning the Case for Separately Single-Sex Schools." Education Next 8.1 (Winter 2008): 10+. Education Full Text. 20 Apr. 2008 <>. <br />"Single-Sex Education: The Pros and Cons." GreatSchools Inc. N.p., 2010. Web. 19 June 2010.<>. <br />Vail, Kathleen. "Same-Sex Schools May Still Get a Chance." The Education Digest 68.4 (Dec. 2002): 32-8. Education Full Text. 20 Apr. 2008 < external_link_maincontentframe.jhtml?_DARGS=/hww/results/results_common.jhtml.16>. <br />Weil, Elizabeth. "Teaching to the Testosterone." The New York Times Magazine 2 Mar. 2008: 38+. <br />Wood, Julia. Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture. 9th ed. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. Print. <br />Zittleman, Karen. "Teachers, Students, and Title IX: A Promise for Fairness." Gender in the Classroom. Eds. David M. Sadker and Ellen S. Silber. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2007. 73-107.  <br />