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“You say there’s a problem with sexism, and instead of addressing the sexism, you just remove one sex.’ says Rebecca Bigler, a psychologist at the University of Texas. She was referring to ‘all boys’ and ‘all girls’ schools, or single-sex schools. As you know, these schools separate boys and girls. They feel that the two genders learn better and act more confident in separate classes. Although studies haven’t actually proved these schools to be all they claim, many parents still spend quite a lot of money to send their children to them. Despite the fact that single-sex schools use teaching techniques specific to gender, co-ed schools are a better choice for your child. These schools allow students to develop social skills, get rid of stereotypes and gender roles, and better prepare students for later in life.
For one, co-ed schools help children develop social skills that they will use for the rest of their life. In a co-ed school environment children are given the opportunity to learn how to talk to and understand each other better. In single-sex schools they don’t get this kind of experience and may be unsure of themselves when talking to the other gender. Co-ed students often demonstrate more comfort in social situations. A survey called “Perceptions and Attitudes of Students toward their Academic and Social Experiences in Canadian High Schools” reveals that 72% of co-ed students make friends with members of the opposite sex, however 58% of single-sex students report making friends easily with students of the other gender..” The survey was given to over 22,000 students attending different schools, and shows that co-ed students are better at communicating and interacting with the opposite sex than students at single-sex schools.
Another reason that co-ed schools better prepare students for their futures is they help students to get rid of stereotypes and gender roles. Single-sex students often pay more attention to stereotypes and gender roles that other people know aren’t true. This is because they don’t see the other sex in school, where they spend most of their time. Another reason students are more likely to believe these things is because single-sex schooling tells them that different genders have to be better or worse at different subjects. This is reinforced by the amount of help they receive in “girls subjects” versus “boys subjects”. Margaret Talbot explains her experience with single-sex schools; she was thinking about sending her daughter to a school that separated some classes by gender, but changed her mind. “I knew the rationale, but what really brought me up short was imagining how I would explain the policy to my daughter, whose best friends were boys. Everything I could think of saying sounded offensive or deflating or dumb,” she says. Parents who send their children to single-sex schools are basically sending their children to schools that tell them what they are supposed to be good and bad at, which definitely fuels stereotypes and gender roles.
What’s more, co-ed schools better prepare students for later in life, including their future careers. Going to a co-ed school prepares you for real life because when you grow up and get a job you are going to have to deal with people of both genders. It’s better to be prepared for this instead of it being completely new to it. If you already have experience with this from going to a co-ed school, than you are going to be much more successful at your job and life in general. Diane Halpern, the former president of the American Psychological Association, brought up a good point in an interview with ABC news when she said, “We don’t have sex segregated workplaces so why would we have sex segregated schools?’ This logic makes sense because the reality of the world is that you are going to have to work in an environment with both genders and there’s no point doing anything besides that when you are younger, it will just leave you at a disadvantage in the future. After all, we don’t learn to work with and respect each other through segregation.
On the other hand, some people might argue that single-sex schools teach children with better techniques because they are specific to that gender. This point of view makes sense because boys and girls generally have somewhat different learning styles. However, this doesn’t apply to everyone, some students learn differently than others, even if they are the same gender. Even in this kind of class, there’s always going to be a few people who won’t be able to learn their best with just one way of teaching and might even feel like they aren’t being appreciated or considered because of this. Therefore, even though these single-sex schools make classes more individually specific, this also leaves some people at a disadvantage.
In conclusion, even though gender separated schools are gaining popularity because of their gender specific teaching styles, co-ed schools offer benefits that single-sex schools can’t, including developing social skills, getting rid of stereotypes and gender roles, and better preparation for their future lives. If you have problems with sexism or students not getting the education they need, you can’t just separate genders and expect that to resolve all your problems, although a lot of people seem to think that. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, we need to work together to solve problems like sexism, stereotypes, and gender roles, and the best way to do it is in a co-ed environment where we face problems instead of avoiding them.
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