Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gender in Education


  1. **QUOTES**
    Alight so for some reason I am not being allowed to write anything where we type the blog. I can put the title but that’s it so I am leaving it as a comment in hopes that people can still see it and read it…
    I found so many good articles and so many different topics that I could have written about but in the end I decided to write about coed versus single-sex schooling. This was never an issue for me because I knew I was going to public school but for some people this is a big issue. Personally I couldn’t care less because I do not see a difference but here are some quotes and opinions from professionals in the field….
    **1) “While simply separating boys and girls doesn’t guarantee success, schools that use best practices for gender-specific teaching may be more successful at teaching to boys’ and girls’ strengths.” – Leonard Sax, MD, PhD (psychologist and family physician)
    ~Sax is saying that just separating kids to separate them is not going to change how they learn. Just because girls and boys are not together in the classroom doesn’t mean that they automatically want to learn all of a sudden. It’s just not going to happen. Change may come, however, when you adjust your teaching strategies. Girls and boys learn at different speeds and in different ways and teachers need to realize that. In fact, as I was reading further, I found this: “The occipital lobe – the one most associated with visual processing – shows rapid development in girls 6 to 10 years old, while boys show the largest growth in this region after 14 years old” (National Institute of Mental Health). Sax isn’t saying by any means that girls are smarter or boys are smarter….he just wants to point out that in a coed school you need to focus on each gender’s strengths and abilities at certain ages rather than trying to mold them all together. I agree with this.
    **2) “The benefit to having single sex schools, however, is that they offer the dynamic of having only one sex in the classroom at a time, creating opportunities that don’t exist in the coed classroom. Teachers, therefore, can use strategies in the all girls classroom and in the all boys classroom that don’t work as well-or don’t work at all-in the coed classroom.” – Lisa Damour, PhD (co-director of Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School)
    ~Similar to what Sax said, Demour is saying that only having on sex present opens doors to other possibilities that may have remained closed in a coed classroom. One example I could think of to demonstrate what she is saying least in my elementary school…we were separated for health class. The nurse would come in and speak to the girls and boys separately about puberty and I never thought much of it until I read this. Although it’s not exactly the same, I think its along the same lines….In a single sex classroom, the teacher can plan according to the specific needs of girls or boys, whichever the case may be. Another example would be the results of research conducted by Carol Dweck, psychologist at Stanford University. She explains that girls often doubt their abilities in math skills even though they complete work on the same level as boys. Girls for some reason just do not feel like they can develop their skills in math when faced with a new or difficult material (according to her research). The teachers at Laurel School (all girls) then took this into consideration and added lessons about how the brain creates new connections when its learning something challenging and also on the muscle and brain development, referring to how practice really does make a difference.

  2. **3) “There is a great variation among girls and a great variation among boys and for that reason, choice is a good thing…one size does not fit all.” – Sax
    **4) “Many boys and girls do fine with coed schools, but some do better in same sex schools…society can benefit from diversity so lets offer options.” - Baumeister (author of “Is There Anything Good About Men?”)
    ~I put these two quotes together even though they do not share a common author because I feel that they are stating the same message in a way. I feel that they are both saying that in the end, it is up to the student and his or her parent when it comes to schooling. Personally I attended public school and loved it. A person next to me, however, may have had a bad experience with public school, tried a single sex school and felt more comfortable there. It all comes down to the student and what is best for him or her. Pay attention to their individual needs and how they learn. No two students are the same so they shouldn’t be treated that way. You could always do a trial run as well…if a student wants to try something new, let them. Like Baumeister says… “Society can benefit from diversity.”

    I’d like to discuss in class how other people feel about this topic. I am not for one side or the other so I want to know if there are people who are completely on one side and feel very strongly about it or if there are a lot of people like me who do not really care one way or the other.

  3. I also found this site to be interesting and helpful:

  4. I had the same problem last night, I thought it was my computer. I didn't think to post a comment... I am now attempting to do my blog late kicking myself for not having the genius idea you had of commenting. I enjoyed your post though, it really made me think about the factual differences in boys and girls and how that could be used in enhancing learning environments

  5. thank you and it made me think too...i think thats why i chose to write the quotes about this instead of other info i found...

  6. So in reading your piece something popped in my head, I live in an all girls dorm. Not because I wanted to only live with girls but beacuse I wanted a single room. But now reading this I guess it gives a place for girls to feel as if they have the option to be in a single sex environment. Just like schools that provide to the needs of just one sex, that is what the dorm does for girls. I don't really have a opinion on if its good or bad, just thought I would share the connection. =)

  7. thank you and i appreciate you sharing your connection :)

  8. I totally agree with it being up to the student. I went to a public school and really liked it, had thought a few times about a private christian school but to be honest glad I didn't go because I've learned a lot more in a public school then I think i would have in a private school. BUT I also have a friend who she loved that school and being in a private, safe environment in her mind. It just depends what the student or parent wants for their kids.

  9. great post this week amanda! i really enjoyed reading it