How Single-Sex Schools are Bad for Students

Introduction

There is much debate on whether single-sex schools are a good thing or a bad thing for students. Single-sex schools cause people to use stereotypes against boys and girls. People put labels on all-boy schools and all-girl schools.

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They are thinking that a single-sex environment improves the way the students learn when it has been stated that both single-sex and co-ed schools excel relatively the same. Although in some cases single-sex schools can be good, I believe they are a disadvantage because students will not get appropriate social skills, will not be prepared for the real world and they promote stereotypes.

Social Skills

Students may go to school for a big part of their lives, but eventually, they will get out of school and interact with people the opposite gender. Student interaction in school is what prepares them for the real world. Single-sex schools add to the thought of sexism in the world. When these students are out of school and in the workforce, they will have to learn how to work with the opposite sex. If they are in a single-sex high school or college, they will have no time to learn the social skills and respect for the different gender. Past president of the American Psychology Association, Diane Halpern has specialized in sex, gender, and cognition for 30 years, and says students involved in single-sex schools have no advantages (Hunt, 2016). Single-sex schools push the idea of one gender all the time for everything.

The question has pondered whether single-sex schools hinder one’s social ability. Having students in school with the same gender limits their social skills with the opposite sex. Having good social skills is the key to having a successful future. Most everyone wants to get a job after either during high school or after college and without the interaction of the opposite sex, people could end up being socially awkward. If students do not know how to interact with the opposite sex, they will find it hard to resolve any problems they may face. By simply going to a coeducational school, your social skills are increasing daily but the conversations one has with the different gender. Even though school is more for academics rather than social skills, they go hand in hand with how well students can perform in class. “In the case of academic outcomes, such differentiation does not. In fact, in the case of social, emotional, psychological and social- and gender-equity outcomes, it is clear single-sex schools can produce worse outcomes and may actually be harmful to children” (Dabrowski & Donoghue, 2016). Not only do single-sex schools decrease students’ social abilities, but they lack real-world problem solving as well.

No Real-World Experience

The way boys and girls learn is almost no difference. Everyone has their own learning styles and techniques, but the way information enters the brain could possibly be the same for boys and girls. “Female brains do differ from male brains, both anatomically and developmentally, but this differentiation is minor, not directly related to the child’s ability to learn and arises not only from genetic factors, but also sociocultural and environmental factors” (Dabrowski & Donoghue, 2016). The slight difference is the distraction the opposite gender brings to the other. The only thing single-sex schools are doing to students is harming them. “They failing to prepare them for gender-integrated workplaces, shared leadership and equal partnership in families” (Eliot, year). In co-ed schools, boys and girls are learning new things about and from each other. Although students grow up with both genders in their families, they do not get to experience the real-world scenarios like inside a classroom.

The difference between a co-ed school and a single-sex school is the way one takes on the world. When students are in a coeducational school, it reflects the real world. Once these students are older, their interactions between themselves and the opposite sex will be unstoppable. Getting students interacting at young ages helps them prepared for the lifelong journey they will encounter later. It’s healthy for boys and girls to talk to each other. “Until 12 years ago, Lakefield was boys-only, but is now co-ed. Grade 11 student Kelly Bignell has been there since Grade 7, and some of her best friends are boys. “I can talk to my guy friends about anything,” she says. “I cherish the friendships I’ve made here.” (Ourkids).

If students start out in single-sex schools, they will have to adjust to the real world. Every corner a female may turn, a male will be there and vice versa. Outside of school, students will run into the opposite sex and must somehow interact with one another. It can hard for students to jump into a “mixed gender” society after being with the same sex all through school. Also, if males mature slower than girls do, girls cannot positively influence them in single-sex schools. “In 2007, Jefferson Leadership Academies reversed its same-sex curriculum after issues with disappointing test scores and scheduling conflicts arose. Detractors of same-sex classrooms weren’t surprised since one of the biggest challenges to single-sex classrooms is the lack of concrete evidence that they boost achievement” (Niche, 2018).

“The real world is coed, and Marist graduates are prepared to interact and work with members of the opposite sex both in the college classroom and in the workplace. This coed dynamic empowers students to grow as both individuals and members of the community” (The coed advantage). This is a good example of how being in a co-ed school gets you prepared to go into the world. Boys and girls can both learn leadership roles, a way of management and problem-solving skills with each other. The lack of opposite gender interaction can hurt people more than it can help them.

Stereotypes in Single-Sex Schools

The second students are being divided by gender in schools is the second sexism and stereotypes begin. “There is no well-designed research showing that single-sex education improves students’ academic performance, but there is evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism” (Bohm, 2012). Single-sex schools are like saying boys must love blue, and girls must love pink. In co-ed schools, students get to express themselves freely, no matter the thought of the opposite sex. Same gender schools are reported to make students more sexist.

Single-sex schools promote a bias between boys and girls. For example, most female teachers tend to favor female students.

“For a reading assignment at a school in Louisiana girls were given “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” while boys “Where the Red Fern Grows.” This was because “boys like ‘hunting’ and ‘dogs,’ but girls prefer ‘love stories.'” These schools are teaching stereotypes, stereotypes which translate to harmful assumptions, discrimination and sometimes violence” (Sophie, 2013).

There are many stereotypes of how boys are “manly” and girls are “girly”, therefore their classrooms should be too.

Students are being taught these stereotypes simply by attending a single-sex school. They are taught that boys must do the manliest thing, and girls are always feminine. This can cause bigger disagreements among different genders and their ways of thinking. “Single-sex education may increase students’ beliefs in gender stereotypes, which can lead to problematics relationships with the other sex and can increase the effects of stereotype threat when students leave school” (Thompson, 2017).

There is an increase in single-sex schools, which means that they cannot be horrible. “Between 2002 and 2012, the number of single-sex public schools in the United States grew from only about a dozen to an estimated 500, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education” (White, 2018). The upside to single-sex school is that there would be fewer distractions between boys and girls. There could be an uprise in test scores and less pressure on the students.

Conclusion

Separating boys and girls in schools does harm them in ways that may not be noticeable. Good and bad can come from single-sex schooling, but research has shown that it harms children socially, and academically, they do not do any better or worse in same gender classrooms or schools. Students in single-sex schools do not get the right amount of interaction among the different sex, they lack real-world problems while being with all girls, or all boys five days a week, and they are being taught stereotypes.

BLUE- All-Boys RED- All-Girls

“Of the 283 single-gender public schools nationwide, 170 are all-boys and 113 are all-girls. However, girls outnumber boys in overall enrollment in single-gender public schools, at over 21,000 compared to 17,000” (Mitchell, & Harwin, 2017).

References

  1. Bohm, A. (2015, April 26). Teach Kids Not Stereotypes. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/blog/speakeasy/teach-kids-not-stereotypes?redirect=blog/womens- rights/teach-kids-not-stereotypes
  2. Dabrowski, A., & Donoghue, G. (n.d.). Single-sex schools can cause more harm than good. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia- pacific/indonesia/bahasa/englishedition/124408-single-sex-school-parenting
  3. Growing Trend Toward Single-Sex Schools Expands Education Options. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/growing-single-sex-education-trend-gives- public-school-parents-options
  4. Hunt, E. (2016, September 14). Single-sex schools offer no advantages and feed stereotypes, psychologists told. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/australia- news/2016/sep/14/single-sex-schools-offer-no-advantages-and-feed-stereotypes- psychologists-told
  5. Mitchell, C., & Harwin, A. (2018, October 02). Single-Gender Public Schools in 5 Charts. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/single-gender-public- schools-in-5-charts.html
  6. Ourkids.net. (n.d.). Co-ed classrooms versus single-sex classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.ourkids.net/school/together-or-apart
  7. Pros and Cons of Single-Sex Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.niche.com/blog/pros- and-cons-of-single-sex-education/
  8. The Coed Advantage. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.marist.net/admissions/the-coed-advantage/
  9. The Dangers of Single-Sex Education. (2013, October 17). Retrieved from https://www.aclumaine.org/en/news/dangers-single-sex-education
  10. Thompson, V. (2017, September 26). How Same Sex Schools Affect Students. Retrieved from https://classroom.synonym.com/same-sex-schools-affect-students-7497.html
  11. US, T. C. (2017, December 29). Single-Sex Schools: Could They Harm Your Child? Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-conversation-us/single-sex-schools- could_b_13870842.html
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