Successful Single-Sex Classrooms: A Practical Guide to Teaching Boys & Girls Separately
March 25, 2009
Michael Gurian, Kathy Stevens, and Peggy Daniels
Single-sex education has garnered more attention recently (see here, for example), now that the U.S. Department of Education has published regulations making it legally viable, and as districts seek new ways to boost achievement and provide alternatives to parents. This handbook for administrators and teachers (and even the casual parent or wonk) is a great place to learn more. It looks at everything from the developmental stages of the sexes to practical teaching strategies for girls-only or boys-only lessons. As everybody knows, boys tend to develop more slowly than girls, meaning that Johnny may find a task much more difficult than Sally at age 6 or 7, which could lead Johnny to become frustrated and alienated in school. This negative attitude, explain the authors, only deepens as he ages. Perhaps he would fare better in classes attuned to boys only. For their part, girls are most apt to benefit from single-sex education in middle school, when they start feeling self-conscious about themselves, their friendships, and their appearance, especially in front of boys. Girls may often dumb themselves down so as not to appear too smart in front of boys. Switching to an all-girls classroom can ease those stresses. Readers will also find helpful guidelines on the mechanics of switching a school from co-ed to single-sex, getting parent buy-in, and advertising strategies to attract students. The authors make no secret of their preference for single-sex education but the handbook still offers an interesting overview of the nuances of this topic. You can find it here.