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Gender Segregation In Schools


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Poll: Gender Segregation in Public Schools (39 member(s) have cast votes)

Should we seperate genders in the public school

  1. Yes (9 votes [23.08%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.08%

  2. No (29 votes [74.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 74.36%

  3. No preference (1 votes [2.56%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.56%

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#1 Dressage4Fun

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 11:48 PM

For my psychology class we frequently have debates about various topics. This week is gender segregation in the classroom. I've found quite a few interesting articles online about gender segregation and I have a pretty decent stance on how I feel about it. As always there is another side and I am curious to know what you think about it or if any of your children are currently in a gender segregated school system.

Currently California, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin have laws that allow school boards to offer some variety in single-gender public education. Anyone that currently lives in these states - are you in an area where there is frequent discussion about this?

#2 BethanyW

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 12:39 AM

Well there is some decent evidence in the pro corner, with some common sense reasoning behind it.

Opponents tend to fall in the "everyone has to learn to get along and work together" camp before long.

I tell my students (as an eye opener) that I'm all for segregation. I would like to segregate the well behaved students from the not-so-well behaved. Just for a day or two, so we can all get a break from those that annoy us. winking0073.gif

I will say that when one of my classes has all the boys or girls (one or the other) out for some reason that there are less behavior problems and we get right to a fruitful discussion. We always seem to get more work done and the students seem more comfortable in their own skin (if that makes sense). I'm amazed at how a seemingly small thing can affect a group of people so dramatically.
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#3 barn boss

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 06:28 AM

I'm all for gender segregation... I believe students would work much better. The only thing that holds me back from saying "Let's do this thing!", is that once students leave the school system, they need to learn how to work well with students of both genders. I'm afraid they'd miss out on learning how to problem solve with the opposite gender.

#4 goldentoes

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 06:44 AM

I have really mixed feelings on this.

I think that separating genders can have some positive effects- for some students, it lowers distraction. For others, it might reduce intimidation- I know that my experience in high school math might have been very different if I'd felt comfortable asking more questions, but I didn't want to look stupid in front of the boys. Dumb, maybe, but I think for some subjects for some students, that might be a real benefit.

At the same time, the real world isn't segregated- boys and girls have to work together and problem solve together, so getting used to it early is obviously a good idea.

I think what I'd be interested in would be some sort of mixed-mode thing. A co-ed school, but with some classes organized by gender, maybe. Not sure how that would work
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#5 pelirrojaloca

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:00 AM

QUOTE (goldentoes @ Apr 15 2009, 06:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think what I'd be interested in would be some sort of mixed-mode thing. A co-ed school, but with some classes organized by gender, maybe. Not sure how that would work


They are actually trying this concept this year at North End Elementary in St. Paul. I am not sure how it is working out, but the idea was to have boys on one side of the school and girls on another. This is a pretty rough part of town and they were going to be losing their funding as they had not made AYP several years in a row so they got a grant and tried this.

My personal feelings are that it would not be a good idea. The work world is not divided and (as dumb and huggy as it sounds) yes, we really do need to learn how to work together.

Plus, even at the younger grades (k-2) I see a ton of cattiness among the girls and the boys are rowdy. I see where it might make some feel more comfortable, but I cannot stand being in a group of all girls, no matter what the age! They get too catty and annoying. I really do think that men and women think differently and have different things to contribute, and that the system would work the best with mixed genders to diffuse the class.

You would not be able to pay me enough to teach a group of all middle school girls or all middle school boys. I know classroom management is key when you teach, but there are some tough cookies out there that even the best classroom teachers would have trouble with.

As a teacher I would not want to teach in a gender segregated school. A lot of times it gets interesting when your classroom has more of one gender than the other, there is definately a difference. That would not be my cup of tea at all.

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Edited by pelirrojaloca, 15 April 2009 - 08:05 AM.

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#6 Lindsay H

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:10 AM

I don't think it's a good idea. I'm fresh out of a public high school, and I know quite a few people that went to same gender private schools. In my opinion, the boys that went to all boy schools really have no idea how to act around girls and vice versa.

At my work, theres a boy who went to an all boys school. He tries to talk to the boss, and the girls at work, and looks like an idiot. He talks to everyone like they're his gender and his age. And it seems that the girls just assume they can talk about their period, underware, and sex life where ever they are. All of my cousins have gone to same gender schools as well, and are exactly the same for about a year after they leave high school. Not very well rounded in my opinion.

School is a good place for people to learn to interact with eachother. If we're only interacting with people just like us, whats going to happen when we're around people different from us? Nothing good, IMHO.

#7 goldentoes

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:19 AM

QUOTE (pelirrojaloca @ Apr 15 2009, 09:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Plus, even at the younger grades (k-2) I see a ton of cattiness among the girls and the boys are rowdy. I see where it might make some feel more comfortable, but I cannot stand being in a group of all girls, no matter what the age! They get too catty and annoying.


Interesting point.

I don't know, I could see it only for certain classes, or something. I guess it also depends on the school, class size, and the type of students involved.

For me, I can tell you I would probably have done light years better in math if I'd been in smaller classes without boys. I was still taking advanced level courses, but not doing great in them. And our gym classes were mixed too, which isn't as huge a deal, but I always chose my activities (we would rotate activities, and every four weeks choose from between three choices) based largely on what would be less embarrassing to do in front of the guys, even though I consistently made them look back during weight training rotations. On the flip side, I think my little brother would have done much better in other subjects in a more controlled, smaller, single sex group (English, specifically).

For other classes- art, humanities, history, etc- I loved the mix of students.

And I'm speaking as someone who back in the day got along much better with boys than girls, and spent most of my social time with them (as friends, heh. I was the girl mascot to a bunch of geeky fun dudes). So it isn't about liking girls better... I just think I would have felt less intimidated to ask questions, etc, in the subjects I had trouble in. The idea of a mixed-mode sort of thing wouldn't be about segregating the school down the middle and keeping girls and boys on their distinct sides, but specific classes offering the option of single-sex, perhaps.

Edited by goldentoes, 15 April 2009 - 08:23 AM.

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#8 Lindsay H

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:26 AM

QUOTE (goldentoes @ Apr 15 2009, 09:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The idea of a mixed-mode sort of thing wouldn't be about segregating the school down the middle and keeping girls and boys on their distinct sides, but specific classes offering the option of single-sex, perhaps.



I don't think this would work. Lets say Sally is embarrased to ask questions in front of the boys in her class, so she gets switched into an all girl class. Then she excells and does wonderful all throughout high school. She does so well in fact, that she gets an amazing job right out of school, still has some intimidation infront of boys that never got resolved, and her boss... is a man? Honestly, if someone feels selfconsious infront of the opposite sex, it should be worked out in school, when their morgage isnt riding on it.

#9 goldentoes

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:29 AM

I don't think that would really be a problem. Sally would be going to other classes with boys, and would likely still have male teachers. Sally would also have to go to college. Likely, the ability to ask questions and master a discipline would give her more confidence, so that she could eventually get over any feelings of intimidation.


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#10 Lindsay H

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:35 AM

Thats a good point, goldentoes. Still though, I think it's best for students to be mixed.

Another example could be that Sally was boy-crazy. She likes them, wants to impress them, and they distract her from school. If she can just be with all girls, distraction is gone, right? If she doesnt go to college, and gets a job right out of HS, she could have the exact same distractions at work, where she won't be moved to an all girls office, but fired. Or if Sally does go to college, and is still more concerned with boys than school, her grades there will fall, and effect the job she can have later. No teacher in college is going to tell you you can't go hook up right after class insted of going to your next class. Dealing with the opposite sex is a responsibility that should be learned in school, just like everything else.

ETA, I'm having personal experience right now! smilie.gif
I'm in a computer class right now, and the boys all seem to be getting their work done, and keeping to themselves when they finish. The girls in this class though, have gotten nothing done so far (an hour in) because all they've been doing is TALKINGTALKINGTALKING to every single girl in the class, as loud as they can! A group of girls tend to do just that, IMO.

Edited by Lindsay H, 15 April 2009 - 08:46 AM.


#11 Mudder

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:58 AM

When I was in school, grade 7 & 8 health/gym class, as an example, was separate for girls and boys. The boys took drafting/shop/welding, and the girls took cooking/home ec/sewing. You could only take the other class, if you can get someone to trade with you. Not anymore tho. The kids wanted it changed. There is now more girls taking the boys classes, and just as many boys choosing to take the girls side of things. As a result we have had many girls go on to be carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers etc, and even a few of the boys have gone on to chef school and interior design. I think it's a good thing to not segragate the kids.
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#12 migo

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 11:02 AM

Mudder that change was just starting when I was in High School.
Ours was the first school that in gr.8 everyone had to take shop & home ec.

I suppose maybe the idea of only some classes seperate has some meritt, but my fear would be if both genders truly are getting the same QUALITY of education. Since we are still dealing with gender inequality & glass celings in the workplace, I would not want to chance introducing that into our schools also.
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#13 Merry

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 01:58 PM

I don't think there is enough good with single sex schools for the disadvantages.
We really should have smaller classes, as we will not be living and working generally with that many people directly around us, requiring our attention and interaction.

I think if we made classes smaller, there would be more advantages to be found than disadvantages to segregating schools by sex.

#14 BuddyRoo

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 02:01 PM

I had posted on this thread, but it disappeared. Hmmm...
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#15 hästflicka

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:24 AM

The biggest problem I see with segregated schools is that children's "self segregation" between sexes starts as early as one to two years old. There are many studies that clearly shows that children choose to play and communicate to their own sex when they can. Girls chooses girls over boys and boys chooses boys over girls. There are, however, not many (or at least wasn't when I looked into it about 10+ years ago) new studies done on segregation in schools.
Personally I don't think segregated schools are the best for the children. It does make some issues easier for the teachers and adults around, but I definitely don't think it's better for the children. Besides, to segregate doesn't mean that there would be smaller classes... just classes of the same sex.
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#16 Merry

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:37 AM

QUOTE (hästflicka @ Apr 16 2009, 08:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The biggest problem I see with segregated schools is that children's "self segregation" between sexes starts as early as one to two years old. There are many studies that clearly shows that children choose to play and communicate to their own sex when they can. Girls chooses girls over boys and boys chooses boys over girls. There are, however, not many (or at least wasn't when I looked into it about 10+ years ago) new studies done on segregation in schools.
Personally I don't think segregated schools are the best for the children. It does make some issues easier for the teachers and adults around, but I definitely don't think it's better for the children. Besides, to segregate doesn't mean that there would be smaller classes... just classes of the same sex.


I see that my post was confusing.
What I meant is that having smaller MIXED classes was better than larger separate or mixed ones, so that to separate or not would be moot point then.

In smaller classes, both sexes would be able to learn together well, that the advantages and disadvantages seen in both are because of the large class and would not be relevant if the class was smaller and the kids could get more individual attention.
That has been shown to help kids learn better, more than if the classes are mixed or not.
I think the difference is too small to warrant a change, but it won't hurt if, in today's world of mixed classrooms, some may prefer to run a separate sex school.

I went to a mixed school, in a world where practically all were separate schools and I think that both systems do fine anyway.
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#17 BarnBarb831

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 02:13 PM

QUOTE (goldentoes @ Apr 15 2009, 06:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think what I'd be interested in would be some sort of mixed-mode thing. A co-ed school, but with some classes organized by gender, maybe. Not sure how that would work


I think this would be a good idea, but I don't think it's very feasible. Mainly because each student has a different strong point. So you would need to have the option of mixed or gender specific classes for each subject in order to accomodate all the different strengths of the students.

You used the example of math for yourself. You didn't like asking questions in math in front of the boys, so you would be for separating math. Personally? It wouldn't have mattered for me if I was in a gender specific or coed math class. I did well in math and rarely asked questions. Most of the academic subjects I had no trouble with, and so a comfort factor of being with all the same gender would be a moot point for me. Now for something like gym/PE? I was always much more comfortable and willing to participate when they separated the boys and girls. Then again, I'm not very athletic or sports minded, never have been.

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#18 Twizzler

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 05:25 PM

As a high school student and a girl, I do believe that single gender schools are ridiculous! I go to a private catholic co-ed school and I can say that if I was stuck with all girls, I would be completely insane right now. Girls are some of the most obnoxious, up-tight, and....snarky (I guess is a good word) people on the planet. Now that doesn't mean all girls are like that or all catholic people are like that, but that is jut my out look on things. I find that I learn better with guys in the room, because of their 'Who cares' attitude and they want to dominate the class. They are very interesting to debate with, where girls, you tell them that they might be wrong they just stop talking and tend to spread untrue rumors around to get back at the person, at least that's what happens in my school. I live in Ohio by the way. They are making single-gender gym classes at my school for the way that women and men lose weight different (which will be boring!).

I don't know about guys and how their minds happen to work (nor do I care at this point in life), but my opinion is that single-gender school is just ridiculous, though it does have a point in trying to keep girls from getting pregnant at a young age and also trying to see if it helps the learning process, but it truly doesn't for me.
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#19 catcharide

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 06:26 PM

I have an 8 year old boy and an 11 year old girl. Both of my children have very close friends of the opposite sex. My daughter complained to me that her after school program segregated the boys from the girls and that precluded her from playing with her male friend. I asked the program to let her be with her friend and they agreed, it was an experiment that has since stopped.

I really think my children would be missing something of great value to be seperated from the opposite sex during school and after school. Both have formed very close friendships to the opposite sex and for my daughter she has preferred the company of boys. The girls as preteens are very difficult and she has been very effected by the shunning, and general cattiness for lack of a better term. I would shudder to think of what she would be put through without her male friends. Both of my children are better for their relationships with friends of the opposite sex.

Edited by catcharide, 16 April 2009 - 08:54 PM.


#20 shadow13

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:02 PM

I see the evidence (different learning styles, etc.), but I think that it's better-addressed by segregating based on, you know, different learning styles, etc. It's already done in a small way when elementary schools have reading or math groups of different levels.
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#21 Antaeus

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:06 PM

QUOTE (BethanyW @ Apr 15 2009, 01:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well there is some decent evidence in the pro corner, with some common sense reasoning behind it.

Opponents tend to fall in the "everyone has to learn to get along and work together" camp before long.

I tell my students (as an eye opener) that I'm all for segregation. I would like to segregate the well behaved students from the not-so-well behaved. Just for a day or two, so we can all get a break from those that annoy us. winking0073.gif rotf.gif DITTO!

I will say that when one of my classes has all the boys or girls (one or the other) out for some reason that there are less behavior problems and we get right to a fruitful discussion. We always seem to get more work done and the students seem more comfortable in their own skin (if that makes sense). I'm amazed at how a seemingly small thing can affect a group of people so dramatically.


I'm with you on this, too. I teach seventh grade...

I'm in CA, but never hear anyone talking about gender segregation, 'cept me! Based on my experience, I think it would be beneficial at the Jr. High level. I wouldn't segregate for all classes, just some in the core content areas.

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#22 Silk

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 08:40 AM

I went to school in Virginia (elementary through college). I know there's been research on the improvement of scores when gender is separated, but I voted against it. School is a way to prepare young adults for the rest of life, especially the work environment. I think there would be more issues in the workplace for gender equality if schools were segregated, not less. Of course, I've only gone to mixed gender schools, so I have nothing to base my assumption on.
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#23 Merry

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:10 AM

I grew up where there were about as many segregated schools as mixed ones, maybe more segregated ones, so have that one experience to base my opinion.
I think that humans are infinitely adaptable and grow up fine, no matter what the conditions are they were raised in, within reason.

As long as we live in a rather open, free to mingle society, the time spent in schools will have much to offer either way and the rest of the kid's lives will adapt to whatever may be missing in the school time.

My opinion is that the advantages and disadvantages of mixed or separate sex schools are evenly weighed, no one that much in general better or worse than the other.

Now, if a school is completely closed from the outside, or they live in a very close society, you may get kids raised there to have trouble when going out into the world.
That happens in some arab countries, where sexes are separated, not only in school, if they even have schools for girls, but in society as a whole.
That kind of separation will give them then a very different society than we know in most of the rest of the world.