The American educational reality has recently been marked with the growing number of single-sex classes’ debate. The reasons for the debate are rooted in the assumption that same sex classes can result in better achievements, and better children’s development. Yet, it is still difficult to take any of the two sides of the argument. I will try to elaborate on both advantages and disadvantages of the same sex classes. Pros of same sex classes
Single sex education in general is viewed as the direct pathway towards providing better achievements among children. It is suggested that “single-sex classes can make it easier for the teachers to match their instructional style to the behavioral characteristics of the students” (Kirschenbaum & Boyd). This means that while girls are more comfortable in the “only girls” learning environment, the similar assumption can be made in terms of boys. For example, girls are known for regularly displaying worse results in math and sciences, than boys do.
Thus, single-sex classes can secure the solid basis for girls becoming successful in sciences, as they become opener with the teacher and with their classmates; they are no more afraid to be judged for the poor results as compared to boys. One essential note should be made towards single sex education: it should not be promoted on the compulsory basis. Only in case boys and girls are enrolled into it on the voluntary basis, the anticipated results will be achieved.
Another facet of the same sex classes’ advantageous side is in the fact that the mere presence of the opposite sex in the classroom is the means of distracting students from their studies. This idea becomes especially relevant during the most active phase of the child’s sexual maturation. However, this statement can also come into contradiction with the basic principles of education, and this is where we have to turn our heads towards disadvantages of same sex classes. Cons of same sex education Perhaps the opposite gender could be a distraction for students in the classroom, but by grouping students by gender we lose important elements of true education” (Kirschenbaum & Boyd). Same sex classes risk undermining the major principles of education: it should be integral to the normal development of the child. Yet, can we expect this development to be full and multifaceted, if we limit the child’s communication with the representatives of the opposite sex? Will we take the responsibility for our children being unhappy later in life, due to constant misunderstanding and inability to behave and communicate with people of the opposite sex?
It is difficult to deny that a significant portion of children finds it more pleasant and less stressful to study in the same sex surrounding. Of course, this serves only for the benefit of the child. Again, we return to the idea that same sex education should rest on voluntary pillars. Same sex education can exist, and of course it offers interesting options for those who find it difficult to study in the mixed classes. However, parents should think twice and clearly realize what they ultimately expect of the same sex classes.
Conclusion On the basis of the discussed arguments, it is impossible to state that same sex classes should not exist. They represent an interesting option for those who would like to study in the single sex educational environment. Such classes and schools do have the right to exist, but sending the child to such school or class should primarily serve for, and not against, the needs of the child. What I mean here are not merely educational needs, but also ethical, moral, and individual peculiarities of the child’s identity.