Coeducation or Same-Sex Schooling
Analysis of the problem of joint education of children of different sex. The historical rationale for the different employment orientation in the education of men and women. The impact of the adoption of the joint schooling in different countries.
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Coeducation or Same-Sex Schooling
Coeducation or Same-Sex Schooling: Which is Better?
Thesis Statement: Although there is no hard evidence for or against single-sex schools, some parents are against the concept of coeducation while others believe it's the only way to receive balanced and fair education for both sexes.
A. The history of coeducation;
B. Different countries about coeducation.
II. Same-Sex Schooling:
A. The reasons against it (Smithers's point of view);
B. The reasons for it (Brenda Despontin's point of view).
III. Coeducation as the most reasonable method:
A. The natural development of relationships between boys and girls;
B. A more realistic way of training young people how to socialize in the society;
C. Success in challenging sexist attitudes;
D. Different learning styles of children (not genders).
IV. Distraction and teen pregnancy.
V. Coeducational world - coeducational schooling.
The question of how to educate men and women together has had a long history. During many centuries separate education of boys and girls was the norm. This reflected the different roles society assigned to each gender and the unequal status of men and women in most societies. Boys were trained for the worlds of work, politics, and war. While girls were prepared for the domestic spheres of home and nursery. The very idea of coeducation posed a threat to this traditional division of labor. After World War II, more and more women started to go to school with boys. The number of single-sex state schools in the U.K., for example, has fallen from around 2,500 to a little over 400 in the last four decades. So, educating boys and girls in the same class changed the existing hierarchy of labour.
The adoption of coeducation in different countries proceeded gradually. Scandinavia was one of the earliest regions to adopt mixed-gender schools; coeducational institutions date from the eighteenth century in Denmark and the nineteenth century in Norway. Despite some isolated experiments in Great Britain, Italy, and Germany, however, the weight of tradition posed a powerful obstacle to its advancement elsewhere. Coeducation was closely associated with women's rights in the public mind and secondary education was largely limited to elites and was dominated by male students. Women were admitted to institutions of higher education in the late nineteenth century. The first major challenge to this pattern occurred in Russia following the Bolshevik Revolution; there, women were afforded greater access to education, often on terms that were equivalent to those of men. Coeducation was consistent with radical conceptions of equality and was not followed by the rest of Europe.
Teaching girls in single-sex schools was long an obsession of many parents worried about their daughters being distracted by boys. The findings by Alan Smithers, professor of Education at Buckingham University and one of Britain's most respected schools experts, will come as a shock to parents convinced that their daughters will benefit from an all-girl environment. Half a century of research “has not shown any consistent advantages for single-sex education” for boys or girls, he concludes.
Smithers says that headmasters are making “exaggerated claims” about the benefits of girl-only schools only because they are under threat. The number of single-sex state schools has fallen from nearly 2,500 to just over 400 in 40 years.
However, a growing movement in the US argues that boys' and girls' brains develop differently, so they benefit from separate teaching styles. In Britain more and more mixed schools are using single-sex classes because of ongoing concerns over boys' results, which have consistently lagged behind those of girls.
But according to Smithers's research, the fact “whether a school is single-sex or not has little impact on how well it does”. For instance, in Hong Kong, where 10 per cent of schools are single-sex, girls appeared to do better. But in Belgium, where coeducational schools are in the minority, boys and girls who study together get the best results. Smithers highlights the fact that 40 per cent of people who had a single-sex education wanted their children to go to a co-educational school.
The Smithers's point of view will not be welcomed by campaigners for single-sex education. Brenda Despontin, president of the Girls School Association says there is no question that girls benefit from the absence of boys. “There are irrefutable differences between girls and boys. Girls have a greater ability to focus for longer, boys want to change activities more times. The requirements of a lesson and how it is structured are different. Parents want their girls feeling confident and comfortable about who they are. Sometimes having teenage boys around can be inhibiting for girls and vice-versa”.
So, which is better: coeducation or same-sex schooling? The answer is in these words: “Life does not keep boys and girls separate. Your child will one day move into a coeducational workforce”.
First of all, it is our experience that friendships develop in a very natural way in co-educational schools. This happens because there are so many activities, societies and clubs in the school in which girls and boys take part in a pleasant, well-supervised environment.
Friendships develop naturally and genuinely because the mixing is a by-product of the event. This friendly atmosphere continues into the classroom allowing young people to express their views openly and assertively.
Furthermore, for both girls and boys coeducation provides a more realistic way of training young people to take their places naturally in the wider community of men and women. It helps to break down the misconceptions of each sex about the other and provides an excellent foundation for the development of realistic, meaningful and lasting relationships in later life.
Coeducation advocates recognize that the two genders work, play, study and live together in the real world. Adolescents and teens learn by trial and error to respect and understand members of the opposite sex by engaging in learning tasks and socializing together on a daily basis. Through regular practice they learn how women and men develop appropriate roles and behaviors in the society.
Moreover, a coeducational school is also very successful in challenging sexist attitudes. Many subjects in secondary school allow for considerable classroom discussion and debate. In a coeducational school both the female and male perspectives will be explored in such discussions and this is a very important learning experience for all. The pupils learn that “equality” does not mean “sameness” - that men and women often have different perspectives on the same issues and that each approach has a great deal to offer the other. Teacher Ron Fletcher, who has taught in both coeducational and single-sex schools, feels that discussions of literature and social issues are enriched when both genders participate in expressing their ideas and opinions. Issues of voting rights, war and the draft, education and health rights and separation of church and state are among those that benefit from lively discussions in a coed class.
According to Nigel Lashbrook, the Headmaster of Oakham School, Rutland, children (not genders) have different learning styles. A good school is the one that enables all of its pupils to thrive. There will be a wide variety of learning styles in any school, regardless of whether it is coed or single sex. To say that all the girls prefer to learn the same way, or all the boys, is oversimplification. There are different learning styles that suit different children, regardless of their gender. Good teachers make lessons accessible, engaging and challenging for all the pupils. Good schools have systems in place to allow teachers to understand what makes every boy and girl tick and to be able to tailor their teaching methods to get the very best from them. However, some parents and educators believe that students find it easier to concentrate on learning when they are not exposed to the daily distraction of male-female relationships that preoccupy the attention of adolescents. Teen pregnancy is a real problem among high-scholars.
Some parents believe that satisfying friendships made at single-sex schools will make it less likely for their daughters and sons to engage in risky sexual behaviors after school hours. training education school
To conclude, the debate about the advantages and disadvantages of single-sex and coeducational schooling is long running and shows no sign of abating. Nevertheless, one should remember that our life is coeducational. All schools claim that they “prepare children for life”. Given that we live in a coeducational world, this preparation can only be possible in a coeducational school.
1. Rury, J. “Coeducation and Same-Sex Schooling.” Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society. 2004.
2. Asthana, A. “Single Sex Schools No Benefit for Girls”. Guardian, 2006.
3. Smithers, A., and P. Robinson. “The Paradox of Single-Sex and Co-educational Schooling”. Buckingham, Carmichael Press 2006:42.
4. Harker, R. “Achievement, gender and the single-sex: coed debate”. British Journal of Sociology of Education 21 2000: 203-218.
5. Salomone, R. “Single Sex Programs: Resolving the Research Conundrum.” Teachers College Record 108 2006: 778-802.
6. Sax, L. “The Promise and Peril of Single-Sex Public Education.” Education Week 24 2005: 32-48.
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