“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare it today.” These words said by Malcolm X indicate how significant is the impact, which schools have on young minds. Good schooling is essential for every society and individual, as it is supposed to prepare students for the world of work later in life as well as to teach them the values and morals required in the society.
In other words, it is school where teenagers are equipped with necessary skills so that they can participate effectively as member of community, hence they have a chance to contribute towards the development of common identity. For that reason, there have been many attempts to create a school environment that will allow young people to grow emotionally, physically and mentally. Consequently, there are two main choices to make. This is having a single-gender education, or a school where students are in classrooms with a mixture of genders.
However, as it has been previously stated, the school should be regarded as a reflection of the real world. The real world is coeducational though, so mixed schools are rightly considered to be more proper setting for the young learners. The main concern about single-sex classrooms is that its members will not be capable of maintaining successful relationships throughout their lives since they will be accustomed to interaction only with either boys or girls. Nevertheless, being able to communicate with the other sex is crucial to prepare students for the professional world. Coeducational schools perfectly serve this function, because collaboration in classrooms is both purposeful and supervised.
What is more, children there have the opportunity to be taught a broader range of essential life skills e.g. understanding more diverse points of views, mutual respect or simply how to cooperate efficiently and create successful interpersonal bonds. On the contrary, single-sex schools not only limit these possibilities for forming friendships with the opposite sex but also hinder them, as such restrictions lead to perceiving the other sex in an entirely unrealistic, ideological way, simply because children lack the time spent together.
Additionally, deficiency in mutual contact deprives young people from gender segregated classrooms of an enriching experience that is learning about and from each other. That fact can be further confirmed by many researches, in relation to which children need a mix of traditionally masculine and feminine characteristics, like playing competitive sports and discussing emotions, in order to be mentally healthy. Therefore, boys who spend their time mostly with other boys are thought to be possessive and to display aggression. Girls also benefit from the boys’ presence by being more courageous while performing in the society.
Moreover, classroom assignment based on gender teaches young people that males and females have completely different types of intellects, which firmly supports stereotyping along with discrimination. Correspondingly, the common beliefs, that only boys can play football or videogames and only girls are allowed to play with dolls, reinforce sexism in schools and in the culture at large, as children tend to favor members of their own group, and be prejudiced against those in contrasting groups. By contrast, the children in the coed classroom are less probable to limit their interests according to gender – the girls can play football and the boys are allowed to play with dolls.Still, it has been argued that both sexes adopt different approaches towards learning, and taking it into account, they should be taught dissimilarly. Indeed, most same-sex classrooms allow teachers to tailor their lessons toward the specific needs of their students.
For example, a class discussion of “Romeo and Juliet” in a boys’ school can involve a study of a boy’s first love analyzed from his perspective. Likewise, using books featuring lead female characters may be more appealing to young women or debating the impact of religion on young girls has the potential to really reach the target group, while such discussions in co-ed schools are usually less open and extended than those in a single-sex school. However, very few teachers are effectively trained to manage a single-gender learning environment, yet very few colleges offer specific programs or courses.
Considering the fact that learning is best accomplished when the delivery method matches the subject itself, it is the quality of teachers’ training— not gender of their students — that determines how successful the outcome is.Because of that, although students can also learn from home, school environments are irreplaceable during development of young minds. Rather than separate boys and girls, schools should move in the entirely opposite direction which is training boys and girls how to work together, respect and support each other. It is not long before the youth of today will be the parents, co-workers, and leaders of tomorrow. Due to that fact it is especially important to take better advantage of coeducation to frame the truly egalitarian society, that we expect to encounter in the future.
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