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Gender-Separate Schools Increase Educational Benefits - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Gender-Separate Schools Increase Educational Benefits. ‘Girls will be Girls,’ and ‘Boys will be Boys.’ This basic reality cannot be altered, however much the advocates of gender-equality may wish otherwise. Instead of attempting to deny gender differences, it is more realistic to accept them, and go on to exploit these differences to encourage greater individual development in both boys and girls…
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Gender-Separate Schools Increase Educational Benefits
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Gender-Separate Schools Increase Educational Benefits. ‘Girls will be Girls,’ and ‘Boys will be Boys.’ This basic reality cannot be altered, however much the advocates of gender-equality may wish otherwise. Instead of attempting to deny gender differences, it is more realistic to accept them, and go on to exploit these differences to encourage greater individual development in both boys and girls. This is particularly applicable in the field of education. The school is the primary, and most crucial, factor in the educational process and development of a child. In this context, it is essential that the school environment is totally focused on learning, and the classroom is so designed as to provide the optimum ambience for the facilitation of education. This condition is best met by the single-sex school, which is particularly geared towards meeting the unique educational needs of each sex. Unlike coeducational schools, single-sex schools create the gender-specific environment required for the educational benefit of boys and girls. Gender-separate schools allow for gender-tailored instruction, raise the achievement level of students, and avoid the reinforcement of gender stereotypes. Gender-separate schools permit the implementation of gender-specific instruction. Studies show that boys and girls differ in the rate of physical maturity, and in the rate of brain processing and development. Physically, girls mature faster. This can lead to bullying, based on size. However, the critical difference in the classroom is that there is a great gender difference in brain development. An ongoing longitudinal study conducted at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, clearly demonstrates that the areas of the brain involved in language and fine motor skills mature about six years earlier in girls than in boys. In contrast, the areas of the brain involved in targeting and spatial memory mature about four years earlier in boys than in girls (NASSPE, 2011). In other words, the brain’s verbal functioning develops faster in girls, while mechanical functioning develops faster in boys. This means that instructional techniques which emphasize verbal memory work better with girls, and techniques stressing spatial memory, such as pictures, work better with boys. Logically, by employing separate, more precise academic models for boys and girls, educational benefits increase. The achievement levels of boys and girls can be raised in single sex schools. There are biochemical gender differences. Boys have lower levels of the hormones serotonin and oxytocin, which are involved in bringing about calmness. As a result, boys tend to be more hyperactive than girls in the classroom. This can lead to attention deficit, restless classroom behavior, and punishment for boisterousness. Boys are twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with learning-disabilities (Gilbert, 2007). This can be avoided in single sex classrooms, where gender-specific codes of behavior can enhance the learning experience, and help children thrive. In adolescence, as sexual maturity approaches, many students find it easier to focus on academics when they are not distracted by a natural attraction towards members of the opposite sex. Again, students who are intimidated by the opposite sex may find it difficult to participate in class at coeducational schools. Researchers at Cambridge University examined the effects of single-sex classrooms in rural, suburban and inner-city schools. They found that "using single-sex groups was a significant factor in establishing a school culture that would raise educational achievement." (NASSPE, 2011). Gender-separate schools prevent the reinforcement of gender stereotypes. In coeducational schools, boys and girls remain keenly aware of the cultural expectations of gender-specific behavior. For instance, boys avoid the arts due to fear of appearing less macho in the eyes of the girls, while girls avoid mathematics and science in order not to appear masculine. The prevalent rigid gender stereotypes lead to ‘gender intensification,’ by which boys and girls conform to perceived gender-appropriate roles. This is illustrated by the case of the Clear Water Academy in Calgary, Alberta, where girls chose to play flutes, and boys opted to play the trumpet, as long as the school remained coeducational. When the school opted for the single-sex model, this division disappeared! (NASSPE, 2011). Single sex schools break down gender stereotypes, and liberate boys and girls to explore non-traditional skills and diverse role models. Gender stereotypes can also extend to the teachers in coeducational schools. If a mathematics teacher has lower expectations for the girls in the class, he may not challenge their intellects in the way he would for his male students. A study by the American Association of University Women found that “Gender bias is a problem at all levels of schooling,” with girls particularly being victims of sexual harassment and neglect from male teachers (Kaimer, qtd. in idebate.org). All stereotypes have a negative effect on learning. . I believe that gender-separate schools provide the greatest educational benefits for boys and girls. Gender-specific instructional techniques cater to the unique learning requirements of the two sexes. Single-sex classrooms eliminate distraction, and allow the children to focus on learning alone. The coeducational tendency to reinforce gender stereotypes is overcome when boys and girls experience freedom from the expectations of gender-appropriate behavior. Single-sex schools bring about substantial educational benefits. It is time to bring about a sweeping increase in the number of single-sex schools in the country, for the optimum educational development of boys and girls. Works Cited. Gilbert, Michael. 2007. “Single-sex Schools Help Children Thrive.” The Christian Science Monitor. Web. 22 July 2012. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0920/p09s01-coop.html Idebate.org. N.d. “This House Believes Single-Sex Schools are Good for Education.” International Debate Education Association. Web. 22 July 2012 http://idebate.org/debatabase/debates/education/house-believes-single-sex-schools-are-good-education NASSPE. 2011. “Advantages for Girls.” National Association for Single Sex Public Education. Web. 22 July 2012. http://www.singlesexschools.org/advantages-forgirls.htm NASSPE. 2011. “Advantages for Boys.” National Association for Single Sex Public Education. Web. 22 July 2012. http://www.singlesexschools.org/advantages-forboys.htm Read More
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