While deliberating on the main aspects of gender, particularly on the significance of single-sex schools and classes the authors rely heavily on their personal observations and experiences. At this point, Meyer, the supporter of the single-sex schools revival focuses on ethical and legal regulations that predetermine the emergence of this type of schooling. In contrast, Anfara and Mertens (2005) discuss the influence of economic factors on the state of affairs.
Specifically, the authors explain, “…it was cheaper to educate boys and girls together than to operate separate schools, which have required duplicating facilities, equipment, and personnel” (Anfara and Mertens, 2005, p. 9). Despite different backgrounds and educational values which are presented in the paper, the representatives of both sides of the debate underscore the important role of feminist tendencies in creation and development of single-sex schooling.
To support the reasonableness of recreating single-sex schooling, Meyers refers to traditional purpose of education that should be confined to concentrating on academic process and disciplines. At this point, the author also elaborates on the gender crisis and biases surrounding the actual gender roles.
In the article, Meyers (2005) explains, “Many students in single-sex classes report feeling more comfortable raising their hands and expressing uncertainty regarding a lesson or topic without fear of embarrassment or teasing from the opposite sex” (p. 3). However, this assumption could not be applied to all contexts and explain the pitfalls of contemporary education.
In fact, boy’s interest in girls and vice versa is a normal reaction because it refers to a specific stage of physical development. At this stage, both parents and educators should just pay closer attention to these interactions, but not to solving problems by separating boys from girls.
Anfara and Mertens (2005) are less radical in discussing these matters because are more focused on historical backgrounds of education, as well as on the cultural conditions that have shaped the current educational environment.
Specifically, the author focuses on community’s choice and final regulations that permit organizing single-sex schools. In fact, focusing on psychological perspective and previous research, Anfara and Mertens (2005) have discovered that the benefits of single-sex education are ambiguous because of the lack of the internal validity of the studies.
Specifically, the authors explain, “single-sex education has been ideologically tied to racial segregation, which in effect, causes use to be more critical of it” (Anfara and Mertens, 2005, p. 15). While presenting these assumptions, the focus has been made on cultural perspective, which points to the authors’ concern with historical and cultural background of education rather than with the academic process.
It should be stressed, however, that both sides of the debate focus on feminism as one of the leading factors contributing to single-sex schooling debate. At this point, Meyers (2005) states that 60s and 70s of the past century gave rise to the debate about equality of education for both males and females. In contrast, Anfara and Mertens (2005) analyze this issue in the light of the necessity to introduce combined education for women to be able to study the same subjects as men do.
In conclusion, the articles reflect the confrontation between conservative and liberal views on education, as well as on the necessity to introduce single-sex schooling to contemporary learning environment. In particular, Anfara and Mertens are more liberal in their discussion of single-sex education whereas Meyers insists on reviving the previously established forms of education.
Anfara, V.A. and Mertens, S. B. (2005). Do Single-Sex Classes and Schools Make a Difference? pp. 9-16.
Meyer, P. (2005). Learning Separately: The Case for Single-Sex Schools. pp. 2-8.