Single-sex education is not something new, it was actually predominant before the 19th century and the main reason for separating both genders was religious beliefs or cultural customs. Not long ago these schools were viewed as relics from another age, a time when boys took wood-shop and girls studied home economics, but now the pendulum is swinging the other way. So single-sex education is basically an old approach that’s gaining new momentum. While single-sex education has long existed in many private schools, it’s a relatively new option for public schools.
Single-sex education can broaden the educational prospects for both girls and boys. Advocates claim co-ed schools tend to reinforce gender stereotypes, while single-sex schools can break down gender stereotypes. For instance, the stereotypical thinking that girls don’t perform as well as boys in math and science may cause girls to hold back in those classes or not take those classes for fear of underachieving whereas in single sex schools girls are free of the pressure to compete with boys in these otherwise male-dominated subjects. Likewise, single sex language arts classes may help to dislodge stereotypical thinking that indicates males don’t perform as well as females in language arts and these schools can help boys to pursue traditionally “feminine” interests such as music, art and poetry more easily. The single gender environment thus gives students a level of confidence and informed interest in subjects that they may not have had otherwise.
Single sex schools has many pros. One of them being reduced distraction, students in single sex classes are free to interact and learn without the distraction of the opposite sex. The value of this in middle and high school is that students may be less concerned about impressing the opposite sex and more focused on instruction. Additionally, students may feel that the social playing field is leveled with the absence of competition for attention from the opposite sex. Another advantage is that sometimes teachers favor one sex over the other. They favor their own gender when teaching co- educational classes; for example, male teacher can undermine the process and confidence of girl students by refusing to chose them to answer question etc. Gender bias is a major problem at all levels of schooling, asserting girls are plagued by sexual harassment and neglected by teachers, who pay more attention to boys.As a result, girls tend to fall behind their male counterparts.
But irrespective of all the studies and theories developed regarding single sex schools,ultimately it is now up to the parents and their child to decide if single-sex education is appropriate for him or her. After all, children are all different and unique, which is why they deserve to have the education that best fits their needs. Just like Baumeister states, “Lets have coed schools and single-sex schools and see which works best. Most likely, one will work best for some kids, the other for other kids. In that case, society will function best if we offer both opportunities and let the students choose”.