Mona Lisa’s Smile: Single-sex Education for Girls Essay

Mona Lisa’s Smile: Single-sex Education for Girls Essay

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Mona Lisa’s Smile: Single-sex Education for Girls


“Men Are from Mars - Women Are from Venus,” it is the title of a bestseller book, which tells us how different boys and girls are. Single-sex education was introduced because of the huge differences, and it once flourished in the United States. Since the 1970s, however, it began to be regarded with a degree of suspicion. Many girls’ schools closed or amalgamated and the trend towards co-education continued to spread. Until nowadays, the debate between single-sex education and coeducation still carries on. Single-sex education benefits girls especially, by offering equally rigorous academic opportunities, and helping them cultivate leadership and greater confidence; yet it also creates over-confidence and social problems. Thus a real solution is to offer “single-sex classrooms at coed schools”, which combines the advantages of both single-sex education and coeducation.

The huge differences between boys and girls provide the foundation of single-sex education, and especially for girls, whose potential is not fully nurtured in an elitist male education system. Among a great number of gender differences, girls differ most distinctively from boys in brain and learning style.

Many studies demonstrate sex differences in the structure of the brain. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, “the higher association cortex, the part of the brain thought to be responsible for our most complex boystal operations, is markedly asymmetric in boys but not in girls; and in boys, the area is larger on the left, whereas to the extent that there was asymmetry in the brain, girls' association cortex is larger on the right.” ( qtd. in NASSPE 3) . In another study, L. S. Allen and R. A. Gorsk...


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...g environment. Meanwhile, they could socialize with guy friends at coed schools, which will prepare them for later entering into society much better than had they not interacted with boys at girls’ schools. Admittedly, this “single-sex classrooms at coed schools” education is not perfect, but it makes the most of both single-sex education and coeducation. It might be the future of single-sex education.

Works Cited

Gu, Tong. Telephone interview. 1 December 2004.
Grön, Georg et al. “Brain activation during human navigation: gender-different neural networks as substrate of performance.” Nature neuroscience. April 2000, 3(4):404-408.

National Association for Single Sex Public Education (NASSPE). Brain Differences. January 2002. .
The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS). Benefits of Attending. December 2004. < http://www.ncgs.org/type0.php?pid=16>.

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