Single-Sex Ed Takes Hold in South Carolina : NPR

via Single-Sex Ed Takes Hold in South Carolina : NPR

Single-sex ed takes hold in South Carolina

Originally I was not planning on blogging on this particular subject, but because it effects how we look at sex education in general, I think it is a worth while endeavor.

I was listening to NPR’s show All Things Considered and found a piece chronicling the education of children in South Carolina to be interesting. This particular story was covered in detail and left me wondering exactly what the teachers’ motive was for teaching in this way.

Some 97 schools in South Carolina have adopted the one sex classroom and even school to promote a more educational atmosphere in a school setting. Some schools in Georgia and even California have adopted this method in private education, but this is taking place as a public school attempt at higher test scores.

The idea that “When kids go to school together its all about who is wearing what, separately its about who you are and who knows what”. This opinion was offered in the piece and to anyone with time spent in the public high school field can attest to that fact. However, this separation can be detrimental to students’ development according to some parents.

Some believe that the intermingling of the sexes should be encouraged because “that’s reality”. By limiting the actual experience of students’ to their same sexed peers can be limiting in terms of knowledge acquired about interacting with the other sex.

While this piece highlighted serious learning differences between male and female school children such as: boys need to move around while learning, colder classrooms, a harsher and more demanding teacher, and shame used as a learning tactic. Girls need a quiet environment, the chance to ask a question in front of peers, to sit and work, and to receive words of encouragement from authority figures.

Although I hear these facts, I do believe that a gray area exists there. It is said that the schools and classes are split between males and females by sex, not gender. This leaves room for males and females who are gender confused without a healthy place to learn. As a prospective teacher, I want to create a healthy and calm educational environment for all of my students. This particular teaching technique would make it very difficult for those individuals to find support and encouragement. Also, the variations in education are not specified in this article. I do not know whether the curriculum is the same for both groups or whether it is different depending on the group. Lastly, the lack of interaction between these groups of sexes can be negatively attributed to teen-pregnancy rates and the idea of the ineffective “abstinence only” sex education.

Ultimately, because we do not know the long term effects of this teaching method, we cannot pass judgement on its efficacy. Instead, as with all new techniques, I believe that the students should have a choice as to what they want, also that this should be watched by parents and experts as it unfolds. Until then, let us hope that the students in these schools are receiving the best education they can.



  1. kpillsbury Said:

    What an interesting topic for discussion! If anyone had asked me in high school whether I thought boys and girls should be separated in the classroom, I would have been completely opposed to the idea. Concerning classroom-related issues such as this, my stance has changed within the past two years, years I’ve spent in college, years where EDUCATION was my number one priority rather than fitting in. I suppose fitting in wasn’t so much my concern as just having fun. I didn’t care about school. I did what I had to in order to get good grades (which was barely anything) and then the rest of my time was focused on cute boys or finding ways to talk to my friends in class. And when I say I was focused on cute boys, I mean I was FOCUSED. Oh, the agony of high school romance! I could not concentrate to save my life, at least not when my crush was sitting in the same class as me! It could have been love…it could have been hormones. Whatever it was, it made learning difficult.

    That wasn’t the only problem with having the opposite sex in the classroom though. It seemed as though whenever there was an obnoxious, attention-seeking, loud-mouthed student in the class, that person was a boy. There was at least one of them in every class. So not only did I have the cute boys distracting me, but the obnoxious ones got in the way of my learning too!

    I think it’s true that males and females need different learning environments. I don’t know that those environments are as easy to distinguish as the article states, but I think it has a pretty good idea of the needs of both sexes, at least. It’s a start.

    But you’re right about the gender-confused students. These students already have enough on their plate without adding this form of classroom organization in. The idea of a safe classroom is completely discarded for them in this kind of system.

    I also have to admit, as shallow as it is, although the cute boys distracted me from learning sometimes, they also greatly contributed to my great attendance record. So at least there’s that. Haha.

    All in all, I don’t know if I like the idea of separating the sexes. If you hadn’t brought up the idea of gender-confused students, I would probably be all for it, but… I can’t get over the idea of hurting their educational opportunities.

  2. Becca Thebo Said:

    This is a very interesting topic and I am glad that I had the chance to read your blog entry. I think that you bring up some really good points in your article about having segregated classrooms. I personally have to agree with you in that single-sex classrooms are not in the best interest of the students.

    Briefly in your response you asked if students would have the same or different curriculums based on their sex. I think that this is a very important point to consider. Do gender segregated classrooms leave more room for inequalities in the curriculum? Could this possibly be a step backward for women’s rights in the fact that girls may have a less challenging curriculum? While it may not be intentional, I think that with segregated classrooms there is a possibility of gender discrimination. While there are several issues to consider (and you pointed out many of them) I think this is something that needs to be looked at as well. If schools start going towards gender segregation, how do we ensure that each group is receiving an equal education?

    Thank you for sharing your blog with me. You make many great points that are worth considering. Good luck with the rest of your blogs. I hope you find insightful information:)

  3. dibbleje Said:

    I have read several articles dealing with seperate sex classrooms. And being that we have the same topic I took a real interest in the article and your view on it. I found it really interesting about the different learning habits/styles between boys and girls. It seems that between the two sexes although we have a lot in common, we still have many differences. And while that can make certain things complicated such as school environments, I also agree that keeping them seperated isn’t going to help them either. I remember hearing awhile ago that when kids are toddlers or very young, it is “good” for them to be put into a day care. The idea that children are exposed to certain illnesses and germs at a young age help their immune systems develop and strengthen as they grow up. So by the time they are adults, they are practically immune to common germs/sicknesses like the flu etc. [or at lease less likely to catch them]

    Anyway I found this to be somewhat the same scenario. Yes, boys and girls have different learning styles and one can’t cater to each students every need. But at the same time seperating them throughout their developing years might actually be harming them more socially then helping them. Think about if you were in a seperated classroom from boys your entire school career, but you got really good grades. When you go to college, how are the grades going to matter if you are too worried about the boys in your classroom looking at you? Or your male professor? See where I’m going with this… Just like young kids in daycare, we need to expose ourselves to the opposite sex and develop relationships, friendships etc. We help one another in a way.

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