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Mixed Gender or Same Sex classrooms?

2009-04-28

The argument for separating boys and girls in school is one that’s getting more and more attention around the world.

Dr. Leonard Sax
Founder, National Association for Single-Sex Public Education (USA)
This is a conference for educators from all around Europe who are interested in single-sex education.”

Those who argue in favor of single-gender education, cite research that suggests some children learn better when they are separated by gender.

According to a study presented at the meeting, boys tend to mature later than girls and girls are generally more thoughtful.

But those against the argument say the real world is a co-ed world, and that children are better prepared for it when they’ve lived and socialized with each other. Dr. Sax says that argument is based on a false assumption that co-ed schools resemble the real world.

Dr. Leonard Sax
Founder, National Association for Single-Sex Public Education (USA)
We have lots of research now which I cite in both my books, lots of research showing that that’s not true. The co-ed school today is a very peculiar world. Where what really counts is who’s cute, and who likes who, and which boy is hot.

Supporters of the single-sex model of education  also say it helps teachers get the most out of their students. That’s why they prefer to describe it as personalized education.

Though single-sex education in public schools is not common in the United States and Europe, it’s a movement that’s slowly picking up steam around the world. Dr. Sax says his hope is that countries like New Zealand and South Korea can set the example so that parents in other countries can have that option for their children.

Dr. Leonard Sax
Founder, National Association for Single-Sex Public Education (USA)
"New Zealand can do that with a population of four million in the whole country. So certainly big countries like Spain, France, Italy, no reason why they could not do the same."

Dr. Leonard Sax put aside his medical career to dedicate himself to promoting single-sex education in the United States. Today, he’s being invited all over the world to talk about the benefits of single-sex classrooms.

Dr. Leonard Sax
Founder, National Association for Single-Sex Public Education (USA)
When we launched our association in 2002, only 11 public schools in the United States had single-sex classrooms. Now, 540 public schools have single sex classrooms. So the organizers asked me to come here and share what we’ve learned from that experience the last seven years.”

In any case, they say that they do not want to impose this model on all schools.  But ask that, in turn, the traditional mixed gender system is not imposed on parents who prefer to give their children a single-sex education.

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