Should boys and girls be in separate classes? Essay

“Single-sex education can be especially harmful for children who do not conform to gender stereotypes. Peers are often the strongest enforcers of sex roles. Boys who do not fit the tough, athletic mold and girls who do not fit feminine stereotypes are subject to bullying or exclusion from other children.” Kimmel, M. (2008). Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

“It appears that bullying is more severe in single-sex academies, which lack the buffering effects of the opposite sex.

Jackson, C. (2002). Can single-sex classes in co-educational schools enhance the learning experiences of girls and/or boys? An Exploration of Pupils’ perceptions. British Educational Research Journal, 28, 37-48.

“When children are separated based on simple biological characteristics, there is potential for serious harm. First, the very act of segregation fosters the belief in deep, far-reaching behavioral and ability differences, which runs counter to the true, statistically modest sex differences that do exist.”

Hyde JS (2005) The gender similarities hypothesis.

American Psychologist

“Research shows that segregation promotes stereotyping.

When teachers emphasize gender, for instance, by lining up boys and girls separately, the children develop more stereotypic views of gender than peers in classrooms where gender is not emphasized.” Hilliard, Lacey J.; Liben, Lynn S. 2010. Differing levels of gender salience in preschool classrooms: Effects on children’s gender attitudes and intergroup bias. Child Development, 81: 1787-1798.

“In fact, segregated classes also increase teachers’ stereotyping.” Datnow, A., Hubbard, L., ; Woody, E. (2001) Is single-gender learning viable in the public sector? Lessons from California’s pilot program. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

“She found that after two weeks of teachers using gendered language and divisions — lining children up by gender and asking boys and girls to post work on separate bulletin boards — the students showed an increase in gender-stereotyped attitudes toward each other and their choice of toys, and they played less with children of the other sex.”

Penn State “Sex Segregation in Schools Detrimental to Equality.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 Sept. 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

More behavior problems

“Gender segregation has negative consequences for social behavior. Research has shown that children who spend more time playing only with same-sex peers show increased gender-typed activities, and their behavior becomes increasingly gender-differentiated.”

Martin, C. L., & Fabes, R. A. (2001). The stability and consequences of same-sex peer interactions. Developmental Psychology, 37, 431-446.

“For instance, boys with more exposure to same-sex peers become more aggressive over time, and certain boys, such as those with less self-control, are placed at greater risk for behavior problems.”

Fabes, R. A., Shepard, S. A., Guthrie, I. K., & Martin, C. L. (1997). Roles of temperamental arousal and gender segregated play in young children’s social adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 33, 693-702.

Main point 2: Prevent socialization between different gender, crossed gender friendship

“By contrast, children in a co-ed class have a wider opportunity to find others they are comfortable with. This is supported by a large recent study of middle and high-school students, where greater numbers of cross-gender friendships were found to reduce the overall level of aggression, compared to schools in which such friendships are rarer.” Faris, R., ; Felmlee, D. (2010). Status struggles: Network centrality and gender segregation in same- and cross-gender aggression.

American Sociological Review, 76, 48-73.

Learn about each other

“To be successful, children must learn to live and work with others whose beliefs, backgrounds, skills, and interpersonal styles are different from their own. Research has clearly shown that children who have interacted with diverse individuals are better prepared for this task.1 The experience of sharing, working, and learning with children of both genders is vital to developing healthy relationships in both their future families and workplaces.”

Orfield, G., Frankenberg, E., ; Garces, L. M. (2008). Statement of American social scientists of research on school desegregation to the U.S. Supreme Court in Parents v. Seattle District and Meredith v. Jefferson County. Urban Review, 20, 96-136.

Ineffective/No advantages

“Our examination of the existing studies leads us to conclude that there is not scientific evidence for positive effects of single-sex schooling,” said Liben. “That’s not to say that academic outcomes are definitively worse, but neither are they definitively better. Advantages have not been demonstrated.” Penn State “Sex Segregation in Schools Detrimental to Equality.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 Sept. 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. Expensive

Counterclaim: Different learning style/Supporting evidence

“Their argument is that girls and boys have very different brains, with boys oriented towards math, science and reasoning, and girls excelling in personal relationships and emotion. In this view, the sexes should be parented and educated differently, and steered towards separate careers.”

Rivers, Caryl, and Rosalind C. Barnett. “Education.” Single-Sex Schooling Loses Ground for Good Reasons. N.p., June 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

Counterclaim evidence

“Some supporters of single-sex schools claim that brain differences between boys and girls require different teaching styles. But neuroscientists have found few differences between male and female brains, and none has been linked to different learning styles.” “It’s simply not true that boys and girls learn differently,” she said. “Advocates for single-sex education don’t like the parallel with racial segregation, but the parallels are there. We used to believe that the races learned differently, too.”

  • Lewin, Tamar. “Single-Sex Education Is Assailed in Report.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Sept. 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
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