Single-Sex Public Education

Many research studies suggest that male brains are different than female brains and that boys learn differently than girls. There even is evidence to suggest that at a young age, girls hear better than boys. This may significantly impact learning, especially when boys and girls are in the same classrooms. In addition to very real (though not always present) brain and learning differences, there are stereotypes about differences in the cognitive ability of boys and girls. And as seen in previous weeks, stereotyping can lead to behavioural differences on the part of both learners and teachers.

The preceding issues relate to a topic of importance and debate in education today: the very structure of the educational experience. For example, should boys and girls be segregated in the classroom, acknowledging brain and learning differences? Or, does gender segregation only reinforce the historical stereotypes about the differences in cognitive abilities between males and females? There is significant evidence for both sides of the argument.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Chapter 11 in the course text, Gender: Psychological Perspectives. Focus on the gender-related differences and similarities in issues related to school, education, and careers.
  • Review the research information (use the Research tab) found on the National Association for Single-Sex Public Education website. Focus on the information related to use of gender differences from a psychological and biological basis but also look at related societal issues.
  • Review the article, “Science Faculty’s Subtle Gender Biases Favor Male Students.” 
  • Consider how being educated in same-sex classrooms might affect the learner in the present, as well as in the future, educationally, psychologically, and socially. Also think about the impact there might be on society as a whole if everyone was educated in same-sex classrooms.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3

Post an argument for or against the use of single-sex classrooms. Justify your position. Consider the effect on individual learners (educationally, psychologically, and socially—in the present and in the future of the individual), as well as the effect on society. Consider schooling at all levels: elementary, middle school, high school, and college. If your last name begins with A–M, take the “For Single-Sex Classroom” side. If your name begins with N–Z, take the “Against Single-Sex Classroom” side.

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