Gender and Schools
So what is happening with gender and schools today? As you may know, single gender private schools have existed for centuries, with all-female and all-male schools, same sex colleges, and all boys military schools across the United States. Yet, despite evidence that single gender academics could be beneficial to many students, some still regard the concept as “old fashioned.”
Fortunately, the idea of single gender education is facing a revival lately, as many educators search for new ways to better serve students in elementary, secondary schools and in higher education. The renewed interest in single-gender education comes as a result of single gender school statistics and the current research into their benefits. Check out the pros and cons as cited in this article by U.S. News.
Today, students in all-boys and all-girls schools could stand to gain more confidence (both academically and personally), and achieve more in the scope of their college and career ambitions compared to their peers in co-ed schools. Following are just some of the instances where single gender schools may provide a better option for exceptional education focused on how girls and boys learnand thrive.
A Single Gender Environment Reduces Behavioral Issues
Although it’s fair to say that various co-educational schools can facilitate high-academic performance, students in single-sex schools may have lower chances of struggling with behavioral issues.
As you can imagine, questions about gender and schools continue to be a hot topic in education circles, especially as teachers try to improve classroom behavior. Some experts suggest that single gender educational environments can help reduce behavioral issues because they give students more room to voice thoughts and opinions, do team projects, and demonstrate leadership in the classroom. By contrast, in a co-educational environment, teenage boys and girls tend to distract each other more. Teens are often more concerned with fitting into their prescribed roles and impressing others than pursuing their own personal skills.
In single-sex schools, students are often more willing to take risks and enjoy new challenges, because they don’t fear failing or floundering in front of the other sex. Indeed, single-sex graduates have even rated themselves as having higher levels of intellectual self-confidence, an attribute that is crucial for college and life success.
Single Gender Schools Allow For Tailored Curricula
As critics might suggest, simply placing males in classes far away from females is unlikely to accomplish a great deal. However, the benefits arise when this separation allows for teachers to provide learning techniques tailored towards individual needs and learning styles. A primary argument in favor of single-sex schools is that different genders typically have different styles of learning. Fortunately, in single-sex schools, the teaching approach can adjust to include techniques and concepts proven to work best for the expanding minds of boys, girls, young women and men.
For instance, at a all-male boarding school, teachers can introduce a reading list with books that speak to the concerns of teenage boys. “Hamlet” may help to introduce a “coming-of-age” discussion about father-son relationships. Although similar discussions are possible in co-educational schools, they are often more concentrated and open in single-sex schools.
Single Gender Schools Let Students Define Themselves
- Finally, a significant benefit of single gender education is that it allows students to pursue the roles that appeal most to them. It allows them to pursue leadership roles, classes, AP and Honors courses, clubs, sports, and trips, without a concern for the opinions or perspectives from the opposite sex.For instance, in an all-female or all-male school, students may have the opportunity to fill every role on campus, from student government positions, sports captains, STEM experts and showcase talents in the visual and performing arts. In this way, students can begin to unlearn traditional stereotypes, or never consider such roles in terms of gender at all.Research has already begun to show that single-sex education could allow students to explore a broader realm of college and career prospects for their futures. Female and male studentscan be encouraged to improve their personal growth and development, athletic skills, and pursue their academic passions, without the distraction of the other sex.
In particular, military schools have a long history in single gender education. There are a number of all-boys military schools in the U.S. because these schools recognize the need to allow boys to push their academic potential, pursue leadership positions, and face challenges, both inside and outside the classroom. Learning to lead, following a rigorous daily schedule, goal-setting, and facing physical challenges in leadership training and sports, motivates teenage boys as they move toward manhood.
While the U.S. Department of Education has reported that graduation rates from high school may be improving nationally or in some states, many single sex schools provide even more impressive numbers.
Although co-educational public and private schools allow for the interaction of both genders, and may have their benefits for some students, it’s crucial to consider the benefits that single-gender schooling can offer. There is valid reasoning behind the fact that many parents feel that they should have the option to send their child to a single-sex school.
Searching for an All-Girls or All-Boys Private School?
To assist you in the process, look for the following as you do your research into single gender private schools:
- Small classes with interactive lessons geared towards how girls and boys learn best. Caring and supportive faculty and staff will help your teen receive the mentorship and guidance to grow socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually.
- Seek out schools with a STEM or STEAM focus to give your teen an advantage in these growing fields. And of course, check out their full academic program for other areas of interest, whether it be in the humanities, social sciences, or other subject areas.
- Check out college matriculation data to see where graduates attend colleges or universities in the U.S and abroad.. Beyond The Ivy League, be open to public universities like the University of California campuses, the service academies (USMA, USNA, USAFA, USCGA, USMMA), Stanford University internships and other summer programs, gap year options, as well as other choices that appeal to your teenager following high school. .
- Find out about Learning Strategies and ESL if your teen has learning differences (e.g. ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia) or is in need of ESL/ESOL classes (international students), then ensure their needs will be met. It is not enough to simply enroll in a single gender school; it needs to set your child up for success.
- Explore the co-curriculars to better understand whether the private school is the right fit. Review the clubs, trips, activities offered, both on and off-campus. Also, make sure your teen will have chances to interact with the opposite sex (e.g. ettiquette lessons, proms, dances, service projects, lifeguard training, etc.)
- Discover specialized offerings in areas that hold special appeal (e.g. leadership training, character development, aviation, cyber security, computer science, game development, video production).
- Learn about athletic and team sports at the private school to explore options for every season. Speak with the admission office and check out the website to view the list of athletic offerings. Many boarding schools offer robust sports and fitness options, as well as help to apply for athletic scholarships.
- Understand the mission, vision, and values as these will be critical to the personal growth of your child. Look for schools with aligned values, so your teen develops values such as: honor, integrity, respect, responsibility, compassion, and gratitude.
- Evaluate day vs. boarding schools to assess the right match for your child and your family.. If your teen needs to become more independent, decisive, motivated, or learn how to manage time more effectively, a boarding school could be ideal. Also, make sure you check out military schools; there are both coed as well as all-male choices.
- Look toward the future to ensure your teen will receive the kind of mentorship, academic support, and college planning services to navigate a successful life beyond middle school and high school.