Single-sex schools are beneficial to education.
Debate Rounds (5)
1) Round 1- Acceptance, greetings, and definitions
Round 2- first argument no rebuttal
Round 3- Rebuttal in response to round 2
Round 4- Second argument in response to rebuttal
Round 5- Closing statements concerning round 4
2) Arguments detailed in response to opposition and vice versa.
3) A consensus that this is a good natured debate and not personal in nature.
Single-sex schools: A school who only accepts applicants of a single sex i.e. male or female.
Greetings: I look forward to a good natured and holistic debate on this topic.
Thanks for posting this debate! This is my first one so apologies if I make any oversights! As someone who attended a single sex school, I'm going to be arguing that, in general, they are beneficial to education. I would like to clarify the scope of 'beneficial for education'. Schools have two primary roles:
1. Academically educate children (e.g. maths, science, history etc)
2. Prepare students for living in the 'real world' through social development of self, and interpersonal skills etc
When you say beneficial to education, do you mean beneficial solely to academic education? Or do you also mean beneficial in terms of a child's development? Feel free to reply in the comments if you don't want to in the actual round.
Thanks, and I look forward to your arguments.
1.The role of schools is to academically educate children.
For this argument I will use the subject English as my example classroom.
The role of academia in schools should be both comprehensive and holistic. A large part of the holistic academia develops in classroom discussions that, while outlined in a lesson plan, are organic in nature and largely dependent on the students understanding and comprehension of the topic at hand. This understanding often comes from life experiences that the child can relate to the subject matter.
Example: A student relates to a character in a book because they both have younger siblings.
Males and females experience life differently due to biological and cultural factors. This leads to the students to relating to the subject matter in different ways.
example: In a book about bullying there are two main characters one male and one female. The male is in a situation that threatens physical violence. The female is in a socially and mentally abusive struggle. The male student feels oppressed but is relived after the fight happens and he knows he is able to defend himself if he ever needs to again. The female student stands up to her abusive party only to have the abuse spread in the form of gossip out of her control.
These bullying tactics are predominantly split between male and female lines and these characters will be relatable to males and females differently because of this.
Through classroom discussion in a single-sex classroom you may find males focusing on the male characters storyline and either ignoring or expressing confusion over the female characters circumstance. It may be hard to understand why the bullying didn't stop if the character stood up for herself. Female students may have an equal lack of comprehension about the males characters plight.
In a co-ed classroom students of both sexes will be able to compare and contrast the story and the characters thus informing each other of the gendered issues found in the book.
2) School should prepare students for living in the 'real world' through social development, and interpersonal skills ect.
-Social situations in the 'real word' often involve both males and females. Students who grow up navigating these situations in school will also be able to navigate them in the 'real world'
-Males and females interact differently on a social level and co-ed schools allow children to learn the social skills for interacting with both sexes
-interpersonal skills are also developed to include both sexes through co-ed classrooms
1. Statistics. Unfortunately most statistics on this subject are skewed by the fact that attendance in ss schools is often not random. Ss schools are often fee paying schools, or selective, and there is a correlation between family income and performance in school. This makes it difficult to glean any substantive evidence towards the 'single sex' part having any causation. However a study undertaken by Hyunjoon Park et Al  was a first in that it randomly assigned students to either co-ed or ss schools without any previous bias, such as income, background, parents education etc. It came to the conclusion that "attending all-boys schools or all-girls schools, rather than coeducational schools, is significantly associated with higher average scores on Korean and English test scores." and "Compared with coeducational schools, single-sex schools have a higher percentage of graduates who moved on to four-year colleges."
There are numerous other studies that come to similar conclusions, however, they suffer from the fact that the intake to the schools is not random, and therefore I will not be including them.
2. Gender stereotypes. You are correct to bring up the biological and cultural differences in children of different sexes upbringing. However at co-ed schools, these differences can often be reinforced negatively through gender stereotypes. At ss schools, students are more likely to take classes that would normally seem to be 'only for the other sex'. For example, in most co-ed schools the physics classroom is dominated by boys, this is a phenomenon that is recorded right the way up to college, where boys out number girls in STEM classes almost 2:1 . This is a trend reinforced throughout students school lives. At the other end of the stick, boys may feel uncomfortable taking a class such as home economics or poetry, possibly at the risk of backlash from other boys.
This problem is neatly sidestepped by ss schools, where there is less pressure to choose a class that is usually dominated by the other sex. While it is true that a physics class is probably smaller in a girls school than in a boys school, the gender gap is far smaller than in co-ed schools.
3. Distractions. Boys and girls in their teens are a mess of hormones and angst, and often putting girls and boys together can just exacerbate this situation. It can be hard to quantify the effect of having a boyfriend or girlfriend on a child's education, often due to the frivolous nature of relationships at high school. However something that can be quantified is the rate of teen pregnancies which is far higher at co-ed schools than ss schools, and I would argue that teen pregnancy has an incredibly detrimental effect on the education of both parents. As well as being distracting to other students, whereby girls and boys put their relationships with members of the opposite sex before their studies (not only in terms of boyfriend and girlfriend - a student may try to impress a member of the opposite sex at a detriment to their studies or become part of a clique where being in a relationship -even only a platonic one - with one of the cheerleaders is more important that your test scores).
4. Differences in learning style. Boys and girls mature at different rates, and often have different styles of learning. These can range from curriculum to even the temperature of the classroom . Boys and girls have different learning techniques, and while these techniques may not be correct for every child, at lease ss schools make an attempt to distinguish between learning differences. For example boys are attracted to motion and may learn better with a more active teacher, who moves around the room, while girls prefer a more sedentary teacher, as their eyes are more attracted to colours, faces and textures than movement (I am unsure the exact reasons for this but it is probably a throwback to evolution and our cavemen days - one may ask if it is a coincidence that young boys like to draw fast moving objects such as rockets and cars, while girls may draw flowers and rainbows). Different learning styles mean that the best way to teach boys and girls is often different, and a lot of coed schools are now contemplating gender segregated classrooms, even if the school itself isn't single sex.
5. From a non academic, developmental point of view I would argue that it is not in school that learning to engage with the other sex is necessary. Many all boys schools have an all girls school nearby and vice versa (simple demand often requires it) and have co-ed extracurricular activities. Even if that is not the case, there are plenty of hours outside school where students can learn to interact with the other sex. I am an example of someone who had little interaction with the other sex until my late teens, and while at first yes it takes some getting used to I don't believe it is detrimental in the long term to a students ability to empathize with the other sex. In fact, even at co-ed schools there are plenty of students who struggle to socialise with the other sex, sometimes to even more of an extent than students from ss schools. This suggests that the ability to empathize and engage with students of the opposite sex is not something developed in the school environment at all, but instead away from the classroom. Plenty of boys have been bullied/teased in the past for not knowing any of the girls in their year/grade and vice versa.
6. Leadership. On another non-academic front, girls at ss schools are far more likely to hold leadership positions, than girls at co-ed schools. Fewer than 2% of American women have ever attended any single-sex school, public or private. However, more than 20% of the women in the United States Congress (House and Senate) have attended single-sex schools. Unfortunately it is difficult to pin this fact solely down to ss vs co-ed schooling due to other factors, however a whole order of magnitude in difference is substantial and cause for further investigation.
While lumping genders together in similar learning environments may not be the ultimate personalized solution to teaching, it is surely better than treating every single student the same way, when we know there are differences between them.
Thanks for reading, in the next round I'll start to address the points you made this round, but in the meantime I look forward to your response!
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