Choosing the right school for your child is an important decision. While supporters once thought that same-sex schools were advantageous to learning, research conducted by Penn State University in 2011 found no evidence that single-sex schools generate positive effects. The advantages of coed high schools extend far beyond the classroom and can help your child to avoid gender stereotypes that can result from lack of exposure to the opposite sex.
Men and women live and work together in almost every aspect of personal and professional life, which means that coeducational schools provide a much more realistic model of training boys and girls to interact with members of the opposite sex. While there is no research that shows advantages of single-sex schooling, Penn State professor Lynn S. Liben discovered that there's strong evidence of the negative consequences that accompany segregating the sexes. Coeducational schools discourage students from developing negative gender stereotypes.
The Brain Myth
Prior to the late 20th century, scientists commonly held the belief that boys' and girls' brains differed greatly and required different teaching styles. A 2007 study led by a team of neuroscientists from the National Institute of Mental Health found very little difference between the male and female brain when it comes to education and learning style. Not only does coeducational schooling provide students with the same tools they need to be successful, but a survey conducted by Ridley College in 2008 also revealed that 71 percent of parents felt coeducation better prepared students for college.
If your child has very little exposure to members of the opposite sex, it can be hard to build lasting friendships or even successful romantic relationships. Coeducational schools provide the opportunity to participate in activities, clubs and sports in which both boys and girls can take part. This mixing of genders allows friendships to develop naturally and provides a sense of confidence that allows young people to openly express their views.
Academic research conducted in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom by such entities as the Department for Children, Schools and Families has found that single-sex education does not produce better achievement outcomes than coeducation. A 2005 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education also concluded that there was no evidence that students in same-sex school performed better than their coeducational counterparts. Superior schools are successful for reasons that are unrelated to gender.
- U.S. Department of Education: Single-Sex Versus Coeducation Schooling: A Systematic Review
- Arizona State University: Researchers Researchers: Coed Schools Provide Societal Benefits Over Single-Sex Classes
- Cathedral School: Advantages of Coeducation
- The Atlantic Philanthropies: Co-Ed Classes Benefit Social Learning
- Ridley College: The Beneﬁts of the Co-educational Environment
- Psychology Today: Two Myths and Three Facts About the Differences in Men and Women's Brains
- EurekAlert: Sex Segregation in Schools Detrimental to Equality
- The American Psychological Association: Coed Versus Single Sex Ed
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