What are the benefits and drawbacks of girls only classes?
The Benefits of a Single-Sex Education
Choosing to send your daughter to an all-girls school can be a very important decision in her education. There are many benefits to learning within an all-girls environment. Single-sex schooling has been shown to provide more leadership opportunities, improve student self-esteem, decrease sex-bias in teacher-student interactions, provide more positive student role models and promote a sense of community among students and staff.
Girls are more likely to pursue and excel in non-traditional subject areas such as math, science, engineering, and information technology in single-sex schools. When boys are not in the classroom, it gives them the opportunity to learn new or traditionally male skills, without the judgment, teasing and competition of boys. Many boys at coed schools will tell you “poetry is for girls,” and many girls will likewise tell you “computer science is for boys.” Yet, single-sex education has been shown to broaden students’ horizons and allow them to feel free to explore their own strengths and interests, without the constraints of gender stereotypes.
Everyday classroom dynamics are often more favorable in single-sex schooling. Girls tend to show more confidence in answering questions and participating in class discussions. The UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education observed classrooms in twelve Asian countries which revealed important differences in student-teacher interactions between boys and girls. In coed classrooms, boys were more likely to call out without raising their hands, and be praised for their contribution, whereas girls who called out answers were reminded of the “raise your hand rule.” Boys were often allowed more time to think and work through questions, which can send a message to girls that they are less capable than the boys.
Girls who learn in all-girl environments are believed to be more comfortable responding to questions and sharing their opinions in class. Teachers at all-girls school are often better at identifying and responding to girls’ unique needs and learning styles. The majority of teachers and administrators at all-girls schools are women, who serve as important role models and mentors in their students’ lives. When the majority of successful people the girls are exposed to are women, it helps them see the potential for success in their own futures.
Students in single-sex schools tend to have far more positive attitudes toward academics than students in coed schools. The students at single-sex schools develop better organizational skills, and are more involved in classroom activities. In Seoul, students have been randomly assigned to either single-gender or to coed high schools since 1974 when the random assignment policy was instituted to prevent clustering of students from particular backgrounds at particular schools. Girls attending girls’ schools in Seoul are significantly more likely to earn higher test scores and more likely to attend a 4-year university compared with girls attending coed schools.
The single-sex format creates opportunities that don't exist in the coed classroom. Single-sex education continues to be the leading model for most of the world, and there is good reason to believe that this approach is beneficial not only for academics, but for self-confidence and other important life skills as well.