Single-gender education institutions and programs have been making a comeback since the No Child Left Behind Act decreased the restriction of single-sex programs in 2006. But do single-sex schools really give your child an advantage? According to the experts, it depends on the institution and your child. Sending your son or daughter to a single-sex school may or may not be for them. However, these five advantages have been observed in single-gender learning environments.
Provides Easier Socialization
Some experts suggest that a single-sex environment keeps social pressures to a minimum. This allows children to develop at their own pace, without as much pressure to conform to the expectations of their peers of the opposite gender. Many children also find it easier to form friendships with other children of their same age and gender.
Allows for Optimized Learning
In general, boys learn better when specific, direct, step-by-step instructions are given. Boys may also better connect with material that is presented in a format that allows for healthy competition. Girls tend to learn better when they are given opportunities to analyze and connect with information on a personal level. Studies suggest that even details such as the temperature of the classroom can change the effectiveness of how boys learn vs how girls learn. Restructuring classrooms to reflect these learning differences allows single-sex schools to provide an optimized learning process for their students.
Breaks Down Gender Stereotypes
In a single-gender environment, children are not forced to yield to the perceived dominance of one gender or the other in a particular subject. Sending your daughter to an affordable boarding school for girls, for example, could expose her to a greater interest in mathematics, science, or athletic programs that are portrayed as “masculine” such as football, wrestling, and ice hockey. Programs like Google’s Made with Code aim to open traditionally male-dominated professional fields such as engineering, computer science, and medicine to more female professionals in the future. Therefore single-sex schools can allow your son or daughter to experience different sports and other extra curricular programs that may not necessarily be as socially acceptable in the public school system. In the end, the single-sex school will allow your child to experience more without the pressures of social and gender stereotypes.
But it’s not just female students whose education suffers from imposed gender stereotypes. Many male students avoid classes like home economics and art or extra-curricular activities like theatre and choir because they are considered “feminine.” A same-sex environment can help eliminate these stereotypes and allow students to pursue their interests and develop their talents.
Affords Fewer Distractions
Single-gender schools provide fewer distractions than a co-ed environment. Studies have shown that boys become less combative in single-sex environments and girls become more willing to leave their comfort zones.
Many parents feel that a single-gender learning environment also helps decrease the distractions of relationships and dating, allowing students to focus on their education instead.
Allows Faculty to Better Connect with Students
In a single-sex environment, instructors are better able to address gender-specific concerns. Many parents—and students—are more comfortable with single-sex health, sex education, and physical education classes. Having closer relationships with instructors may be especially helpful for children that do not have a same-gender parent role model at home to learn from and rely on.
Consider your child’s individual needs and preferences when deciding if a single-gender or co-ed school is the right choice. By doing so, you might give your son or daughter the opportunities to have experiences that you may not have been able to have at their age.