Single Sex vs Co-Ed Essay Example for Free

However, it is important to note that not all boys dominate classroom space and not all girls are quiet, and research conducted more recently tends to be more attentive than work conducted in the 1970s and 1980s to differences within gender groups, as well as between them. Nevertheless, although factors such as , can be as important as gender for shaping how young people experience schooling, evidence suggests that the gendered patterns of behaviour identified in the 1970s and 1980s persist in co-educational schools today. Of course, this does not mean that single-sex schools offer wholly positive experiences for all children, and this is an area that would benefit from more research.

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Single-sex education gives children more overall benefits than coed education; for example single-sex education teaches the children when they are developmentally ready for learning, and kids put in single-sex education have a greater ability to focus on their work, and to do what they want to do without gender constraints....

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Harker, R. 2000. Achievement, gender and the single-sex/ coed debate. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 21: 203-218.

Campbell, P. B. and Sanders, J. (2002) Challenging the System: Assumptions and data behind the push for single-sex schooling in A. Datnow and L. Hubbard (eds) Gender in Policy and Practice: Perspectives on Single-Sex and Coeducational Schooling (pp. 31-46). New York: Routledge Falmer.

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The debate about the relative merits and disadvantages of single-sex and co-educational schooling, like , is long running and shows no sign of abating. Although research on, and reviews of, the benefits of single-sex versus co-educational schooling (mainly secondary level) have been undertaken around the world – most notably Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Northern Ireland and USA – the results are equivocal. In other words, we lack consistent, robust evidence about the advantages of one school type over the other. However, one emerging finding is that we can not evaluate the effects of single-sex school on educational achievement in a vacuum, that is, the social and cultural context of the school needs to be taken into account. This resource page looks at the multifaceted arguments, looking at the key issues of: the socio cultural context; academic attainment; curriculum and subject choice; children’s experiences of schooling; and social concerns, including preparation for life beyond school.

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Throughout the history of gender and education, schools have been viewed as important sites for social change and places to foster the development of more equal societies with less oppressive social conditions for women. There are different ways to approach the question about the benefits of single sex schools. Some feminist academics argue that women need to have academic success before they can take up roles in public domains and so influence laws, policies and the conditions of all women within society. According to the first position single sex schools may give girls the edge in academic success because lessons can be designed to tap into girls’ interests and so motivate them specifically in subjects that have masculine connotations such as the sciences. Others argue that schools should be places that model equality and so provide young people with early experiences and knowledge of gender equality, otherwise they will reproduce the unequal gender patterns that they encounter outside school in their later lives. According to the second position, co-educational schooling may be seen as a route towards greater gender equality. However, given that in most societies, gender inequalities are structural, teachers need to have enough gender awareness to prevent gendered inequalities being imperceptibly reproduced through their pedagogic practice. Hence the continuing need for all teachers to develop gender awareness.

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Advocates of single-sex schooling frequently point to school league tables as evidence of the academic superiority of single-sex schools. For example, according to tables compiled by BBC News, nine out of ten of the best-performing secondary schools in England in 2006 were single-sex, and seven of these were girls’ schools. Whilst press reports of such patterns may reinforce the perceptions of many parents that single-sex schools are better academically than co-educational schools – particularly for girls – research evidence from around the world suggests a more complex picture.