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Separation between girls and boys in the classroom Analytical Essay


Introduction

Sex separation is becoming a common practice in most learning institutions globally. The practice is widespread generally in high schools as compared to primary schools.

Indeed, separation of boys and girls is considered vital especially among teenagers since it holds the capacity of fostering moral values, sanity, and development of basic human principles.

It also eradicates the occurrence of sexual cases among students that have been increasing in various settings. The concept has presented immense benefits to teachers, students, and parents.

At the outset, it has enabled every stakeholder in the education sector to understand his or her role in promoting delivery of quality education. Likewise, it has fostered discipline and instillation of proper ways of living among individuals of diverse sexes.

The practice has also been contributing in reducing teenage pregnancies that has been at a record high of 46% in US (Woolston, 2012, p. 1). Most studies report high level of pregnancy among teenagers especially in mixed schools as compared to those who are separated.

The studies also indicate that girls are more vulnerable and prone to getting premature pregnancies and other chronic diseases if they are exposed to boys. The findings show that boys and girls especially in high schools cannot stay and study effectively since they are sexually active at the stage.

Their studies normally get disturbed since boys always seek to make advances to girls. Girls too are always impatient at this stage given that it remains the appropriate stage when, they tend to discover themselves including their potentials (Larsson & Svedin, 2002, p. 263).

Proponents of sex segregation hold that the practice should be considered as a matter of principle and not a discriminatory practice. Stakeholders in the education, sector should view it holistically and weigh its benefits that are immense (Gurian, 2011, p. 23).

They should consider it as a performance strategy since boys and girls have different styles of learning. This paper gives comprehensive and insightful discussion about separation of boys and girls in classrooms.

Necessity of gender separation in the classroom

As noted by Cole (2006, p. 102), single sex schools are being established at a rapid rate to cater for the rising need for students’ separation. Their rising development is due to the high demand for the schools, as most parents prefer enrolling their children to such institutions.

This is evident as depicted in the statistics from the US education sector that indicate an increase of single sex schools in most states (Gurian, 2011, p. 23).. The increase stands at 64% up from 57% in the year 2012.

The statistics also indicate that higher enrolment has been recorded in schools that provide single sex services. The schools remain attractive to most individuals including students who prefer them to mixed schools (Arum, Beattie & In Ford, 2011, p. 2).

Currently, single sex schools holds more than 80% of the students as compared to mixed schools that account for only 20% of the total students. These figures are replicated in most nations in the world including Australia and UK.

Notably, most single sex schools are high school level institutions that offer o-level certification. Students who are at the age group of between 13 to 18 years who require proper guidance and monitoring attend the schools.

The institutions best suits them and their needs considering the stage of life that they are in at the age group. Most education stakeholders affirm that gender separation is necessary especially in high schools (Paechter, 2007, p. 5).

This is because of its relevance in boosting discipline and sanity in schools. Cole (2006, p. 106) stated that separation of boys and girls should not be a mater of discussion due to its benefits.

He attributed the practice to better performance for students, a remedy to inferiority feelings and a contributor to talent identification (Thorne, 1997, p. 9). In particular, gender separation promotes performance of students in diverse fields of operation.

Firstly, the practice ensures that diversionary issues that normally occur when boys and girls are together do not occur (Larsson & Svedin, 2002, p. 263). It ensures that students operate in a favorable environment where feelings or individuals of the opposite sex do not bother them.

Secondly, it enables students to learn comfortably and focus on their education holistically. This is apparent since individuals of diverse sexes have their own styles of doing things (Rivers & Barnett, 2011, p. 36).

For instance, boys have their own ways of learning that entails faster internalization of issues as compared to girls who learn at a lower pace. The learning styles differ greatly hence feelings of incapacity may come up and affect some individuals especially girls.

According to various empirical studies, girls do perform better, when they operate on their own and in favorable environments in comparison to when they are mixed with boys. Consequently, gender separation is imperative since it assists in averting feelings of inferiority among girls and boys.

Girls normally suffer from inferiority complexities when they are near boys. The inferiority feelings come definitely, since boys are known to be good academically and they are fast learners (Rusby, 2005, p. 69).

Their capability in tackling more demanding subjects such as mathematics make girls to feel inferior hence lose focus. However, if they are separated from boys their performance tends to look up. Most boys and girls who are in high schools have affirmed this aspect.

They indicate that they prefer sex separation in schools due to its relevance especially in the contemporary society where cases of girl child abuse are in the increase. They note that gender separation enables them to execute their duties and obligations with minimal interference.

They also indicate that gender separation enables them to be more focused in life and identify what they want without influence from other sexes. Likewise, the students indicate that separation of students is one major way of restoring discipline and order in schools (Strasser, 2002, p. 59).

Despite the nobleness of the practice, its critics read malice and mischief in its objects. The critics state that the strategy is a clear way of denying teenagers the right to mingle, share experiences and be creative.

They hold that the practice reinforces harmful stereotypes especially about boys and girls that detriments social cohesion. The critics hold that there is nothing wrong when students are not separated in learning institutions.

Gender friendly schools enable them to know, understand each other, and build strong bond that is necessary for social cohesion. The critics also hold that sex segregation concept is not based on fundamental aspects, but sheer fallacies.

They reason that variances in performance cannot be attributable to sex mixture (Spielhagen, 2013, p. 42). This is because female and male personalities have their own ways of understanding including execution of various activities.

Particularly, the critic’s state that sex mixture is the best strategy to encourage others to perform well. It brings a healthy competition among students that is good for academic and social advancement (Martin, 2006, p. 6).

Similarly, critics of the concept assert that it is based on misconstrued conception and not scientific finding.

No scientific proof has been provided that justifies the fact that gender combination enhances or is a major cause of pregnancy among teenagers. In fact, teenage pregnancies occur mostly when students are not in schools.

The right age for the separation of the sexes in the primary or high schools

There are various schools of thought on the issues that appertain to the age limit that is recommended for separation of sexes.

Some individuals think that age is not an issue and should not be a consideration while, others think that the practice should start when boys and girls are at their teens (Wootan, 2010, p. 59).

Those who subscribe to the idea that separation of sexes should not be pegged on age limits, hold that boys and girls should be nurtured separately from their childhood.

They indicate that the practice should start from primary schools to enable them inculcate strong male and female character traits. Individuals who are nurtured separately from childhood grow with noble characters that define them and their gender very well (Berman, 2009, p. 9).

Boys who are nurtured in a male dominated environment grow with quality principles and character traits of male gender. They become strong, decisive, competitive, and aggressive.

Likewise, girls who grow up in an environment dominated by women becomes rich in female related potentials that include being hospitable, kind, loving, caring and understanding (Stoll, 2013, p. 46). However, those who are against the idea hold that students should not be separated at tender ages.

They should be allowed to mingle and play around with others. This is essential in enabling them to be friendly and recognize the existence of persons of the opposite sex in the environment. Ideally, separation of sexes should occur when children are at their teens.

This should happen normally when they are in high schools. The categorical age or minimum age that should inform separation is eleven to fourteen years. This age limit is appropriate for sex separation as opposed to tender ages for various reasons (Gray, Nasta & Griffin, 2000, p. 4).

Firstly, separation of sexes is prudent when students are at their early teens to avoid cases of intimacy and early sexual encounters. This is a crucial reason that informs separation in most settings globally.

Parents and teachers are always keen to separate boys and girls since they are likely to engage in unbecoming activities early in life. The stage is very crucial in their life cycle given that they tend to discover themselves. It also remains the period when their sexual activeness start.

Hence, they may be tempted to get involved in activities that are not enhancing value to their lives especially for girls who may become pregnant at the stage. This may jeopardize their learning and education in general as evident in most settings.

Girls at this age bracket should be handled with care as compared to boys (McInerney & Liem, 2008, p. 53).

They should be exposed to a lot of teachings on how they relate with boys at the stage, how they should manage their menstrual periods and how they should make decisions pertaining to social issues. For these teachings to be effective girls, should be separated from boys.

They should be taught separately at places where they do not feel embarrassed at all.

The second reason why separation at this age is important is that it helps in eradicating inferiority feelings especially by girls based on academic performance. Girls are known for being inferior in various aspects as compared to boys.

Their inferiority nature makes them vulnerable and less productive when they are mixed with boys (McKinley, 2010, p. 4). Therefore, sex separation gives them the opportunity to develop as strong individuals who are brave to encounter various challenges in life.

Studies show that girls who are learning in their own environment perform better that those in mixed schools. The exemplary performance is attributable to low levels of distraction and feelings of inferiority or unfair competition.

Most scholars hold that if you want to identify your potentials and compete effectively, be in a favorable environment. This is essential since environmental factors are major elements that influence individual’s productivity (Gordon 2010, p. 6).

In US, most learning institutions are developing modalities of ensuring that learning environment is made more conducive and encouraging for students.

They are keen on promoting performance of students and make them competitive including enabling them to identify their talents (Hill & Robertson, 2009, p. 177).

The institutions embrace separation as one of the strategies to facilitate sex orientation and inculcation of noble ideals among boys and girls when they are still young.

Separation is meant to enable them become more forecast and determined in their activities.

Physical and psychological differences between boys and girls with the curriculum

Indeed, sex segregation is informed by physical and psychological differences between boys and girls. Boys are known to be physically active in most cases as compared to girls. They are very impatient, aggressive in diverse aspects, and they always seek to know new things.

Their ability and first learning capacity makes them more superior to girls who are considered perfectionists who execute diverse activities systematically and with caution (Unterhalter & Aikman, 2007, p. 36).

Girls are not physical in nature; they are soft spoken and cautious beings who expect high level of protection. They like doing less demanding jobs and activities that requires limited involvement physically.

For instance, physical nature of boys enables them to engage in certain sporting activities that are considered unsafe such as rugby as compared to girls (Unterhalter & Aikman, 2007, p. 37).

Statistics from education department in US and other nations indicate that boys are normally good performers in complex subjects as compared to girls.

Learning pace of boys especially on these subjects is also high compared to girls. This is why their separation is good especially for girls with an aim of fostering their learning under favorable conditions without any pressure.

Consequently, differences in psychological and social needs of boys and girls are major contributors of sex segregation. This is evident since girls are socially inclined personalities as compared to boys.

The differences lead to immense conflict of interest that brings about social disharmony between boys and girls (Schmidt & McKnight, 2012, p. 3). Under the circumstances, they spend more time fighting over petty issues that in turn jeopardize their well being or cordial relations.

The need to avoid social disharmony and physical conflicts explains why sex segregation in schools is preferred especially in the modern world. It is also gaining momentum because parents require their children to develop as morally upright individuals.

Equality levels in one classroom and studying the same curriculum

In review of the reasons that informs the idea of sex segregation in schools and its benefits, there is nothing strange especially being that students study under the same curriculum.

The curriculum applies to everyone but underlying issues that determines holistic growth and performance of students is based on various factors that must receive effective management.

It is not justifiable that separation of sexes is a practice that fosters injustice and unfairness (Schmidt & McKnight, 2012, p. 36).

The reasoning is deemed flawed since the main aim of the practice is to facilitate performance, help in eradicating inferiority feelings and create favorable environment for learning. Curriculum is just a guideline that educators follow as they teach.

The curriculum is not in any way a major factor that can impede sex segregation. This is because curriculum is developed to help in nurturing quality individuals with immense capability intellectually and socially (Eliot, 2012, p. 1)

Secondly, curriculum is put in place to facilitate learning activities and nurturing of talents. The content of the curriculum is effective if it is delivered under favorable conditions and where there is no constraint of any nature including sheer discrimination.

According to Hill & Robertson (2009, p. 177), there is no harm in separating boys from girls in schools despite that fact they are taught under the same curriculum. It is completely fair since the strategy is aimed essentially at ensuring that everyone receives the best out of the curriculum.

The proponents note that there is no need to mix boys and girls when some of them will not achieve academically due to undue pressure (Cook, 2010, p. 1). It is common knowledge that girls perform dismally in most instances despite the gains that they are making currently.

Hence, any attempt to avoiding their separation may severely hamper girl’s chances of recording god performance. This may in turn render the effectiveness of the curriculum or its purpose useless.

Stakeholders in the education sector should do everything within their power to ensure that every individual irrespective of gender benefit optimally from the curriculum that is designed. They must design credible modalities that are socially acceptable and economically viable.

One of the strategies that they should encourage is the segregation concept that has yielded best results especially in areas where its practice is eminent.

They should also sensitize individuals to view the practice as a performance enhancement measure, but not a practice that promotes inequality. People should understand that sex segregation does not compromise quality of education.

Even though it affects inter social development, it promotes quality in an exclusive manner given that it focuses on eliminating common diversionary issues that limits individuals academic performance.

General difference between educational attainment and social interaction in the classroom

Social interaction is an aspect that contributes in developing holistic students or personalities. However, it is not integral as compared to academic achievement. One can be socially sound, but without strong academic prowess, he may not achieve much.

This is because academics is a paramount element in human life as compared to social aspect. Therefore, it is prudent if its acquisition is emphasized effectively. As noted by Eliot (2012, p. 1), classroom interaction is good in nurturing students to be socially responsible and reliable people.

If such an interaction is not doing any good to students then its relevance is insignificant. Cook (2010, p. 1) noted that the dangers of social classroom interaction have been immense and severe.

Such interactions have led to early pregnancies and school dropouts in most settings that is not encouraging. It is only relevant if facilitates cordial relations

Conclusion

Evidently, most single sex schools are high school level institutions that offer o-level certification. The schools are attended by students who are at the age of between 13 to 18 years who require proper guidance and monitoring.

The institutions best suits them and their needs considering the stage of life that they are in at the age group. There is no doubt that gender separation is necessary especially in high schools. This is because of its relevance in boosting discipline and sanity among students in such institutions.

This explains why the practice should not be a mater of discussion due to its benefits. It is attributable to better performance for students, a remedy to inferiority feelings and a contributor to talent identification.

In particular, gender separation promotes performance of students in diverse fields of operation.

Firstly, the practice ensures that diversionary issues that normally occur when boys and girls are together do not occur.

Secondly, it enables students to learn comfortably and focus on their education holistically. This is apparent since individuals of diverse sexes have their own styles of doing things.

References

Arum, R., Beattie, I. R & Ford, K. (2011). The structure of schooling: Readings in the sociology of education. Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press, an imprint of SAGE Publications.

Berman, J. (2009). Death in the classroom: Writing about love and loss. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Cook, J. (2010). Similarities and Differences Between Boys and Girls. Web.

Cole, M. (2006). Education, Equality and Human Rights. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31 (2). 98-175.

Eliot, S. (2012). The Truth about Boys and Girls. Web.

Gray, D. E., Nasta, T & Griffin, C. (2000). Training to teach in further and adult education. Cheltenham: Thornes.

Gurian, M. (2011). Boys and girls learn differently!: A guide for teachers and parents. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gordon B. (2010). Comparison of Aggression in Boys and Girls. New York: Teachers College Press.

Hill, D & Robertson, L. H. (2009). Equality in the primary school: Promoting good practice across the curriculum. London: Continuum.

Larsson, I & Svedin, C. (2002). Sexual experiences in childhood, Young Adults Recollections, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31 (2). 263-73.

Martin, D. B. (2006). Sex and the single Savior: Gender and sexuality in biblical interpretation. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press.

McInerney, D. M & Liem, A. D. (2008). Teaching and learning: International best practice. Charlotte, N.C: Information Age Pub.

McKinley, J. (2010). Raising Black students’ achievement through culturally responsive teaching. Alexandria, Va: ASCD.

Paechter, C. F. (2007). Being boys, being girls: Learning masculinities and femininities. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Rivers, C & Barnett, R. C. (2011). The truth about girls and boys: Challenging toxic stereotypes about our children. New York: Columbia University Press.

Rusby, J. S. M. (2005). Childhood Temporary Separation: Long-term Effects of Wartime Evacuation in World War 2. Boca Raton, Fla: Dissertation.com.

Strasser, M. P. (2002). On same-sex marriage, civil unions, and the rule of law: Constitutional interpretation at the crossroads. Westport, Conn: Praeger.

Spielhagen, F. R. (2013). Debating Single-Sex Education: Separate and Equal?. Lanham: R&L Education.

Stoll, L. C. (2013). Race and gender in the classroom: Teachers, privilege, and enduring social inequalities. Lanham: Lexingon Books.

Schmidt, W. H & McKnight, C. C. (2012). Inequality for all: The challenge of unequal opportunity in American schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Thorne, B. (1997). Gender play: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

Unterhalter, E., & Aikman, S. (2007). Practising gender equality in education. Cowley, Oxford: Oxfam GB.

Wootan, F. C. (2010). No Fear In My Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide on How to Ease Student Concerns, Handle Parental Problems, Focus on Education and Gain Confidence in Yourself. Cincinnati: F+W Media.

Woolston, C. (2012). Brain development: Is the difference between boys and girls all in their heads? Web.

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Frankl1nR1chards. 2019. "Separation between girls and boys in the classroom." IvyPanda (blog), August 13, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/separation-between-girls-and-boys-in-the-classroom/.

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Frankl1nR1chards. (2019) 'Separation between girls and boys in the classroom'. IvyPanda, 13 August.

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