Single-sex education: yay or nay?

By: TabascoNatalie
July 25th, 2015
5:28 am

Very popular here in UK, but where i came from, it had disappeared together with dinosaurs.
If we're so much for gender equality, this thing makes no sense. At least to me.
What do you think?

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11 comments on "Single-sex education: yay or nay?"

  • artmom
    July 25, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Some kids prefer it. There are all girl and all boy schools. Each have their pros and cons. Apparently, girls are taught differently. In all girl programs they focus more on math and poetry about love and flowers. It's a lot more feminized. And in the boy programs it's all about war and less focus on math. If your a girl and you don't do so well in math and don't like lovey dovey poetry you may not like being at a school that stereotypes you.

  • TabascoNatalie
    July 26, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Yeah, but math is math -- is neither masculine or feminine. Numbers have no gender.
    Poetry -- oh well, i thought at school they are learning classics.

  • artmom
    July 26, 2015 at 4:58 am

    I know that. I was just stating something I read some years ago. Quite frankly I'm horrible at math and I have no interest in poetry at all.

  • singledad
    July 28, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I would agree that single-sex education isn't really compatible with gender equality. At least not while gender stereotypes are still so prevalent. I can only see how these stereotypes would flourish in single-sex schools.

    Also, when will kids learn to treat the opposite sex with the respect of they deserve, if they hardly ever get to interact?

  • akmom
    July 28, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I think it's more about removing distractions from the educational setting. I don't know how I feel about that, because on a strictly theoretical level, I don't think anything that is an important part of life (such as interaction between genders) is a "distraction" to any other part of life.

    It seems like boys and girls learning to relate to each other and even navigate relationships is a crucial part of growing up, that should begin under the guidance of adults. But I don't have anything to back that up. My brother-in-law went to all-boy school his entire childhood, yet he made a good husband for my sister. They met their freshman year of college, so that would have been his first experience with mingling between genders. Yet they've been married ten years, going strong!

  • cybele
    July 28, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I did my entire schooling at an all girls school, where we learned such important things like cooking, sewing, child-rearing, Latin, ballet, ballroom dancing, elocution, and my personal favourite- table setting classes. Math ended in year 9 because it was "too hard for girls" and we never had science. We had history and geography, but it was very basic.

    I can set you a really nice table with my education.

    That was the 70s-80s though and of course that type of fluffing around is not acceptable schooling nowadays. However, I would be concerned about what was on offer, using a more recent example, my 18yr old's girlfriend attended an all girl's high school and she did tell me once that what she hated about her school was that they had all these classes on offer but they needed a minimum number of students who wanted to take it to run them. It meant that she missed out on Information Technology because only 3 girls wanted to take it, when the class minimum was 8, but there were 4 Fashion Design classes running at once. Her school also didn't offer Specialist Mathematics (the highest mathematics class) because for a decade no one chose it, meaning no student at her school can apply to study Medicine at University.

    I think about my kids, mainly DS18 and DD13 and in single sex schooling I can see how the same would happen to them. DS was the only male in his Classical Studies (ancient literature, basically, I don't get the funny name) class, and one of two males in Literature. DD is in an accelerated science program at her school with 3 girls and 13 boys, and it's no secret how underrepresented females are in STEM subjects.

    I simply wouldn't put them in single sex schooling because their options would end up being limited. I don't see what gender equality has to do with single sex schooling, if anything one could argue that the prevalence of non-STEM subjects in all girls schools and the lack of humanities subjects in all boys schools is anti-equality.

  • TabascoNatalie
    July 29, 2015 at 2:47 am

    Table-setting class sounds especially interesting.

  • akmom
    July 29, 2015 at 3:16 am

    That's a good point. I think that's something you run into any time you have a specialized school that caters to some group or demographic. When we were exploring schooling options for our children, we found that the public schools actually had a lot more resources than any of the private ones. Each touted their own set of perks, but were vastly lacking in other things.

    One private school didn't even have a library. When pressed, I was told that students just bring books from home. Well, that just wouldn't do it for our family. I can't afford the size of collection I want available to my children. Besides, a huge part of early reading is browsing for material!

    Various schools lacked things like P.E., a decent music program, or any kind of tactile components in the classroom. Heck, I could homeschool my kids and offer more resources than that! They touted things like good behavior and manners being priorities. Well that's wonderful, but I'd rather tackle that at home and count on school for an enriching education.

    I don't know. I went to some private schools as a kid and they were nothing compared to what public school offered. Parents seem to view them as these havens for sheltering children, but I always found public schools to be more inspiring and encouraging, whereas the private ones I had offered little more than discipline and busy work. Looks like little has changed since I've had kids of my own.

  • singledad
    July 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Originally Posted by cybele
    one could argue that the prevalence of non-STEM subjects in all girls schools and the lack of humanities subjects in all boys schools is anti-equality.
    Exactly. Like, let's not encourage our girls to take computer studies at school. Let's rather have them focus on more ladylike subjects, like cooking and fashion. Oh my, why are there so few female programmers? And why are the ones who do decide to take up programming at university, so far behind their male colleagues?


    But in all seriousness, I wouldn't want either of my children to feel that their gender holds them back from persuing any dream...

  • cybele
    July 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    By the way, don't get me wrong, if a girl wants to pursue fashion or a boy wants to pursue metalwork or whatever, then all the luck to them, it's just on the off chance that my child happens to be one that deviates from the stereotypical gender norm, education-wise (and heck, two of mine have) I don't want them to be limited, and being in co-ed schooling, I believe, increases the chances that a wider variety of classes will run.

  • cybele
    July 31, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Originally Posted by TabascoNatalie
    Table-setting class sounds especially interesting.
    Given that my style of serving up dinner is plopping a whole load of big bowls of food in the middle with a pile of plates and yelling "Everyone help yourselves" - it's been especially useless knowledge.

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