Opportunities In Single-Sex Classes

Submitted By lpc122
Words: 1132
Pages: 5

Opportunities in Single-Sex Classes Hopeless, worthless, stupid. You run home, sodden with tears, dragging a report card marked with less than adequate grades. Asking the teacher to re-explain the math problem would be humiliating; the boys would laugh at you and call you dumb. You’ll never do well in school no matter how hard you try. The traditional co-ed classroom style doesn’t fit the comfort and learning needs of some students. The students that feel they could advance faster away from the distractions of the opposite sex would be better suited in the single-sex classes where teaching styles are directed towards meeting gender needs, while still allowing socialization with the opposite sex during non-instructional time. Single-sex classrooms provide a promising alternative to traditional co-ed classes where students learn and develop freely and break away from gender barriers, but require more statistical data to prove their correlation to higher achievement. Flirtation between boys and girls during class takes emphasis away from learning to focus on the opinions of opposite sex. The desire to “impress each other” leads to showing off and can “detriment...individual learning” (Hughes, 5). Decreased participation results from worrying what the opposite sex might think. Creating an environment where students feel free to “be themselves” and express their feelings, concerns, and knowledge without having to fear the humiliation or distractions of the opposite sex results in greater individual achievement (Gurian, et al.). Janice Streitmatter found that when boys were removed from the classroom, girls participated more resulting in a 73.2% increase in the amount of girls receiving an A (Hughes, 5). The principal of two single-sex middle schools, Jill Rojas, noted more support and participation in the arts from her boys (5). There are differences in the rates of maturation of brain structures of males and females that lead to differences in learning abilities. A Virginia Tech study of 508 children found
areas “involv[ing] fine motor and language skills mature about six years earlier in girls”
while areas “involv[ing] targeting and special memory mature about four years earlier in
boys” (Hanlon, et al. 502). These different rates of maturation show why girls typically have difficulty with “geometry and problem solving”, while boys have problems with “language learning and controlling aggression” (Johnson, D.1). Teaching students based on what they’re developmentally ready to learn will likely result in less frustration and higher achievement. Differences tend to be greatest for younger children, most significantly at age nine, and tend to decrease with age, but can be successful for all ages due to comfort in single-sex classrooms (D.1). Not only are there differences in rates of maturation in parts of the brain, but there
are also differences in the structures and hormones that lead to innate gender differences. Some structures and hormones include the amygdala, broca’s area, corpus callosum, estrogen, oxytocin, and testosterone (Gurian, et al. 20-24). The amygdala, involves “emotional processing”, is larger in males, leading to greater male aggression (20). Broca’s area,
involves “motor speech”, is more active in females, which shows why females tend to
excel more in “verbal communication” (20). Corpus callosum, involves connecting the two hemispheres of the brain, is denser in females and contains more neural connections, resulting in connecting emotion and language processes faster (21). Estrogen, a female sex hormone, influences less aggression, less competitiveness, less self-assertiveness, and less self-reliance (21). Oxytocin is another hormone, more present in females, that is called the “tend and befriend” hormone. The abundance in females shows girls are “motivated biologically to please [people] and...establish and maintain...relationships” (23). Although females have testosterone, males have a more abundant