Social Foundations Essay

1082 words - 5 pages

Single gendered classrooms have been debated for many years, though it was the only type of education available until late in the 19th century. Originally school systems catered to males, encouraging them and giving them the resources and opportunities needed to be successful in education. “As recently as 1970 less than 1 percent of medical and law degrees were earned by women,” showing just how much education has been biased towards males from a young age all the way through graduate school programs. Now, however, it is reversed and males are on the losing end of the education system. A book by Christina Hoff Sommers in 2000 says that “the typical boy is behind the typical girl in reading ...view middle of the document...

Since it has been shown that in co-ed classrooms girls are called on less and are not as engaged and supported in the classrooms, single gender classes provide more opportunities for participation. Also, a book published in 2003 points out that “many students in single-sex classes report feeling more comfortable raising their hands and expressing uncertainty regarding a lesson or topic without fear of embarrassment or teasing from the opposite sex.” It is interesting to note that while improvements are seen based on gender, underprivileged children are the ones who have the most positive effect on their academic achievement. Studies show that “minority students in single-sex schools often show dramatic improvements in attitudes toward school, greater interest among girls in math and science, and dramatically fewer behavior problems.” Teachers also have hope that getting boys into classrooms with other boys will decrease the numbers in special education classes since they would be understood and supported more by their classmates. The book even goes on to quote Dr. Piechura’s research, saying that she showed an improvement with boys who are put into separate classes to learn with other boys. One difference she found was that “girls have better hearing than boys… so if you have a room full of girls you don’t have to yell.”
The no side of the argument also finds reasons to have co-ed classrooms for students. The first main argument presented is the fact that coeducation is the normal way to “facilitate development of positive relations with members of the opposite sex.” If cooperation and understanding of each other are not learned in the school system, it is unclear where they would be learned. A superintendent of schools says that keeping all students together makes the quality of education better because it is a way of “merging their different abilities and allowing students of each gender to serve as a ‘countercheck’ on the other.” This side also brings up the Brown vs. Board of Education case and the comment that separate always means that it is unequal, no matter how hard people try. Unequal education...

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