In the 60s and 70s, a great number of schools abandoned the single-sex style of education for economic reasons or a cultural shift that pushed for equality between boys and girls. It was thought that coeducation gave greater opportunities to everyone and that teaching in single sex school perpetuated stereotypes. In the years that followed, there was an explosion of coed schools and the collective thinking was that this was the new norm.
Arriving in the 21st century, the rising research in neurology and brain development, along with statistical analysis of academic results that compare students of coed and single sex schools, brought the topic back into discussion. Of great importance to this new movement was the work of Dr. Leonard Sax, who was cited in TIME magazine for his work Why Gender Matters, which elucidates the key arguments in favor of single sex schools.
These scientific studies showed that men’s brains and women’s brains evolves differently in both skills and in developmental time. In women, the areas that control language generally develop earlier and more intensely than the areas used for spatial relationships, numbers, and geometry. Meanwhile, in men it is the opposite.
Moreover, the argument that single sex education favors stereotypes is invalid. The investigations uncovered that coeducation intensifies the divide between the sexes, reinforcing the idea that men choose activities that are labeled as “male”, and women feel pressure to do more “female” activities. Instead, in single sex education, men and women feel free to choose any activity without feeling intimidated into choosing a label.
Masculinity and femininity are the traits of the person. Man and woman have different ways of living through their own personal dignities, and this is the key to education. Each person is born either a man or a woman, with different rhythms of maturation and learning, so much so that the educational process cannot ignore this diversity but should respect it. The school must ensure that it cultivates each student’s personal qualities. In education, ignoring the differences between boys and girls is unjust to the nature of each student and less effective with respect to the learning process. Furthermore, in the case of boys, there is so much research that indicates a decline in the academic performance in university from the students who were raised through a coeducational school system.
The single sex school offers greater possibilities for the academic performance of its students. The development of boys and girls is subject to different speeds and learning patterns. Girls biologically and phsycologically develop faster than boys and this often has an impact on school performance. For this, in single sex education, students will earn better academic results.
The single sex debate will surely continue. However, we can verify daily, as witness to the process, the value of an all-boys school. Our students feel comfortable in all kinds of activities, without gendered labels. They participate in soccer, rugby, basketball, as well as in art, theater, music, literature, along with many other activities. They grow up in a positive educational environment, competing in these areas to be their best and to get the best out of their team, without seeking attention from the opposite sex. They try to achieve excellence in any subject or activity and are rewarded for their efforts every step of the way.
International Boys' Schools Coalition
Asociación Latinoamericana de Centros de Educación diferenciada
Dr. Leonard Sax
"The War against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men", Christina HOFF Summers, 2006, Simon & Schuster
"The Minds of Boys: Saving our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life", Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, 2007, Jossey - Bass editors
"Iguales pero diferentes", María Calvo Charro, 2007, Almuzara
"The Essential Difference: The Truth about Male & Female Brain ", Simon BARON-COHEN, 2003, Basic Books.
Each person is born either a man or a woman, with different rhythms of maturation and learning