Is Single-Sex Education Better Than Coeducation?

Biological differences lead boys and girls to learn in a different manner, according to Dr. Leonard Sax, a family physician turned author. Because of neurological differences, Sax advocates that classrooms are segregated by sex.

As you can imagine, It's a controversial idea (one of the main opponents to same-sex education is the ACLU). Here is a report by Elizabeth Weil of The New York Times about an intermediate school that had began offering separate classes for girls and boys and the positive (though biased) results that it achieved:

Sax comes off as a true believer and describes his conversion experience like this: In 2000, one of his patients, a 12-year-old boy, came to his medical office. For several years before then, the boy had been withdrawn, uninspired and on multiple medications, but he had recently made a big turnaround, which his parents credited to having enrolled him in an all-boys school. Upon hearing this, Sax said to the boy’s mother, “With all due respect, I regard single-sex education as an antiquated relic of the Victorian Era.” To which he says she replied, “With all due respect, Dr. Sax, you have no idea what you’re talking about.” After visiting a handful of single-sex schools, Sax threw himself into studying neurological differences between males and females, eventually focusing on how to protect boys from a syndrome he calls “failure to launch,” which Sax often characterizes as caring more about getting a Kilimanjaro in Halo 3 than performing well in high school or taking a girl on a date.

Link (a bit long, but very interesting)


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well, i studied in an all girls school myself and i don't find myself as a 'socially awkward' person. i had no problems interacting with the opposite sex, contrary to popular beliefs, about single-sex schools.

also, i think that this debate on gender differences is inconclusive. there are going to be people who think differently than you, just accept it. everyone has a right to their opinion. besides, its not like students attending single-sex schools are taught in an isolated space. they do get to interact with the opposite sex outside of their schools. and you're not in school for 24 hours. majority of your time is spent in the real world, which is more than enough for kids to understand that there are differences between girls and boys, not just the apparent biological differences.

i don't believe that schools instill gender stereotypes. okay, so some single-sex schools choose to paint their walls with pink or blue color, big deal? its not the end of the world. people need to grow up. i mean even if the schools didn't do this, girls are gonna b girls like boys will be boys, they will figure out a way to be themselves no matter what. it's what people do. it is like saying that girls in an a co-education system wouldn't like pink? that's bizarre.

and the stuff about competition. i find this laughable to say the least. who said that girls and boys have to compete in the real world? whoever said it is naturally out of their mind. NO they do not need to COMPETE with each other, they just need to CO-EXIST, and that comes naturally to human beings. people tend to get along with each other, coz that is what they are taught in their families, by their parents. they have siblings at home, who may be of the opposite sex. they get along just fine.

yes, boys and girls do have to compete in professional spheres, but there the competition is about their credibilities, intelligence, wits, qualification etc. its nothing physical, where boys are at a greater advantage. GIRLS do not have to compete with BOYS, they have to compete for the position that they want to be in, through sheer hard work and dedication, and that's what schools teach us - good values, good education and the confidence to excel, co-education or otherwise.
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Mooncake made my point.
But, I have many other issues.
It won't prevent boys and girls from interacting with eachother. Period. Sorry. Your child is going to have a boyfriend/girlfriend by age thirteen either way.
Yes, boys and girls learn differently than boys. I don't think that schools should seperate them, however. I think that schools should seperate them in certain subjects, such as math and science.
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I think coeducation is much better as you tend to become more familiar with the opposite sex and have friends from both sexes so that depending upon your problem you can call on boys or gals for help.
It promotes healthy interaction between boys and girls..

Girls & boys at a self conscious age take extra care of themselves. Growing up together and sharing activities such as dramatics, art and other things like socials, widen the students talents and a healthy atmosphere pervades in all co-educational schools. The spirit of co-operation that grows between boys and girls makes it easier later on to adjust in a mixed society. Boys become aware of girls' abilities and vice versa. A spirit of co-operation and competition thrives in the co-educational system.
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Re: #11 (Jitterbuggery) --- Beat me to the punch. While a fair number of people may have no problem with a single-sex school, and some may even do better in such an environment, it's not always preferable to a co-ed school. In my case, since I've been an autodidact from the start, I found the educational value of school to be quite lacking and at least 3 years behind where I was. Hence, I found it boring, time-wasting and often rife with inaccuracies. Couple that with the fact that I quickly discovered that it meant at least 12 years of unpaid labor, and there just wasn't much of an incentive for me to even attend school, let alone apply myself --- except that I would have been punished if I'd failed to comply.

The fact that I'm a straight guy and some of the girls at school were nice was about all that institution had going for it. A same-sex school, for me, would have been even more of a prison.

I also know several people who attended single-sex schools, and even single-religion schools. In such cases, profound ignorance of the opposite sex and other religions is the norm. (In their cultures, marriages are arranged by the parents, and the couples don't communicate very well at all.)

However, it seems some people who attended single-sex schools turned out all right and were even able to compare & contrast them with the co-ed model. If indeed there are definite advantages to single-sex schools, then it would be worthwhile for certain districts to set up a few of them, just to try them out. I imagine there would be an improvement, if only because students attending the school either want to be there, or their parents want them to be there. (This happens in connection with charter schools, regardless of the quality of teaching --- either the student or the parent actually has a stake in it. With public schools, it's just a state requirement, so nobody really cares.)
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