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social foundations

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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 and writing, is less committed to school, and is less likely to go to college. Another study in 2006 found “that boys make up 90 percent of discipline referrals, 70 percent of learning disabled children, and two-thirds of children on behavioral medication.” One of the questions being asked is whether co-ed classrooms play a role in this and if single gender classrooms would improve the statistics for both boys and girls.
The yes side of this argument believes that it is common sense to separate boys and girls in school so that they can be more productive. Not only does this have to do with their work ethics, which are incredibly different, but with the fact that having different genders in class can be a distraction. One example provided in the book deals with the human body and sex education classes and how the conversations can be uncomfortable for teachers and students when both genders are involved. When one teacher gave a lesson to a class of female 10th graders she said that they were able to be open and honest because the girls weren’t ...

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...raid to speak up in middle school, might have been more beneficial for me if I had felt comfortable asking questions. While I do not have any experience with single gender classrooms, my good friend is interning in one right now and says it is incredibly beneficial for her girls. When I shared my doubts, she said that at least in her case the positive test scores speak for themselves. She also told me that some of the conversations she has been a part of this year, in her opinion, would never have occurred as in depth or honest if boys had been around. When I asked her if it was affecting their social lives, she said that she honestly doesn’t think so because they are around each other at recess, lunch, and during special lessons where single gender classrooms are taught together. I think that it is a valuable program that should be an option for those interested.
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