In 2006, the U.S. Department of Education relaxed restrictions on single-gender education. Since then many schools, both public and private, have begun to separate students into same-sex learning environments. Much research has been done on the subject, and recently the U.S. Department of Education issued a report collating the findings of various research studies concerning same-gender versus coeducational schooling. The consensus indicated that same-sex education held the advantage in academic performance, socio-emotional development, and disciplinary standards. Here are some reasons single-sex education allows students to grow better both academically and emotionally.
Higher Grade-Point Average
Without the need to impress fellow students, especially those of the opposite gender, children have the chance to focus on the subjects they are being taught. Students are less self-conscious, and less conscious of gender stereotypes. This allows boys to collaborate better with other students in the classroom, and enjoy and excel in subjects they might not traditionally participate in such as languages, poetry, and creative writing. Students are more likely to attempt to tackle difficult courses, pursue interests in higher education, and consider more lofty career aspirations.
In single-gender classrooms, students feel comfortable and have less need to show off. With older students, same-sex environments cut down on distractions such as flirting. Because these distractions are absent, students in single-gender environments concentrate more on acquiring grades and leadership skills rather than on money and looks. The U.S. Department of Education reported that studies show same-sex environments have short-term socio-emotional advantages such as better inter-student relationships and less delinquent behavior, as well as long-term successes such as lower dropout rates, more pursuit of higher education, and less post-education unemployment.
Less Gender Discrimination
Studies show that in many cases today, the traditional situation is reversed. Coeducational classroom environments favor girls instead of boys. In many classrooms, boys do poorly in reading and writing because of gender stereotypes which have come to label these skills as feminine activities. Boys are also taught to suppress emotion until it bursts out in negative behavior. Educators tend to see the need boys have for activity as a disciplinary problem instead of adjusting classroom methodology to compensate. A single-gender classroom experience allows the teacher to harness the higher energy levels of boys in active, productive ways. Studies show that a boy’s brain develops at a different rate than a girl’s. Though a girl’s brain reaches its halfway point of development by age 11, a boy’s brain may not reach developmental midpoint until age 15. Coeducational classes with children of the same age favor girls, whereas single-gender classrooms allow each gender to mature and learn at its own natural pace, and allow classroom learning activities to reflect the needs of the students.
It is obvious that the preponderance of research so far favors single-gender rather than coeducational learning environments. This holds true across the board in academics, discipline and emotional growth. When parents try to remedy such problems as their child’s poor academic performance, lack of discipline and emotional insecurity, instead of trying to implement inefficient makeshift solutions, they should consider a change in their child’s overall academic environment. Rather than struggle in a disadvantageous situation, children can thrive in a single-gender learning environment with teachers who understand and meet their needs.