Separating Boys and Girls in 5th Grade - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Would You Enroll Your Child In a Boy/Girl Only Classroom?
Yes 11 36.67%
No 13 43.33%
Maybe/Not Sure 6 20.00%
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#1 of 22 Old 04-19-2011, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So my nephew will be in 5th grade next year and has the opportunity to be in an all boy classroom (the elementary school is piloting this). Obviously boys and girls learn differently and in general have different educational needs and abilities. As a former teacher, I just lumped boy and girl needs together: boys AND girls got breaks to reflect/talk, opened ended projects/assignments and structured ones, activities that were hands on/active, writing/drawing choices for responses, etc.

 

I'm assuming the school would hone in on which of those above differences specifically works for the genders based on research. Differences that the school listed would be in light levels, response assignments, breaks, etc. DN will still be in the general elementary school, participating in normal related arts, lunch, and recess.

 

My sister and BIL are looking in to this but I was wondering what all you thought about this! 

 


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#2 of 22 Old 04-19-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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I do believe there is a place for same-sex classrooms. Studies do seem to favor single-sex educations long-term. Personally, I feel it's success depends largely on the personalities of the individuals. For my own kids, I want them in mixed classes. My DD is very bright, very adventurous and has always connected better with boys than girls. Her best friends from toddlerhood have always been boys. In class, she's been most challenged by boys academically. Only recently (high school) has she started making quality female friends (I suspect largely because the whole boy/girl thing has gotten complicated.) I understand this as it was the same for me. My DS would probably do fine in an all boys school but he's also doing well in a mixed gender school. I don't see any reason to change this.


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#3 of 22 Old 04-20-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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My children all attend mixed gender classes until 8th grade- then they go to single sex high schools. Having taught in mixed gender and single sex schools, I vote single sex all the way. There are numerous reasons which have nothing to do with only education. I could list them if anyone was interested.

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#4 of 22 Old 04-20-2011, 05:09 PM
 
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I would absolutely consider a single sex classroom, esp. for my ds, if it was done right.  I attended single sex schools and undergrad, so I am a proponent.  My kids are in PS mixed classes, and they have good experiences.  However, there are many benefits to single sex education.  I would think it's at least worth exploring.

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#5 of 22 Old 04-22-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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Although I teach elementary school now, I taught middle school for 12 years.  I taught at a school where we did team teaching with students being assigned to a 4-teacher team.  One year one of the teachers on another team had read and done some research on single sex grouping.  Her team decided to divide the classes between boys and girls for one semester of the year.  They informed the parents and did not have any negative feedback.  (The students were still co-ed for their enrichment classes and lunch.)  My co-worker still says it was one of the best years of her teaching experience.  She felt that the students got more out of it and she was able to instruct at a different level.  Most of the students liked it better too.  Unfortunately, the next year the teachers on her team got moved around and too many others in our building were resistant to change, so it didn't happen again.  I would tell your sister and BIL to go for it.  It might prove a very stimulating year for your DN.

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#6 of 22 Old 04-22-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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No, absolutely not.  Sure, not all students learn the same, regardless of gender differences.  But I think that DD learns a lot by helping another student in group work who may need something explained differently.  It makes her brain work.  That's real life.  I think gender differences in learning are more pronounced in early elementary, and separating the sexes in upper elementary or middle school is kind of pointless.  I also have a nephew who is a grade above DD, and I'm sure they would compare notes regarding what the girl class is learning and what the boy class is learning, and make a determination that boys or girls must be smarter :)  What happens to the girls who learns "like a boy," or the boy who learns "like a girl?"  Do they move to the other class?  Or are they forced to conform to gender norms?


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#7 of 22 Old 04-23-2011, 06:11 PM
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for everyone who said yes and said they could give their reasons. I would be very interested to hear them as I have not ever really considered it before...DD will have an opportunity to go to a really good private school without having to pay tuition (local students attend, subsidized by tax dollars) and it is mixed gender and now I am curious about the whole same gender thing....I thought that her school was as good as we could do for her education wise!

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#8 of 22 Old 04-23-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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I said maybe - but the truth is, I probably wouldn't. I think the idea that boys and girls have different learning styles, etc, is generally true - but what about those kids that don't conform to those expectations? What about the girl who needs to be up out of her seat moving around and doing tons of hands on projects?(or something similar for a male student?) I just don't think you can apply generalizations across the board without some students getting run over in the process. Aside from that, some of my most valuable friendships at school through out the years were with males - I would have missed out not only socially, but educationally, because I worked very well with many of them - at the middle school level, I couldn't handle the gossip, cattiness, and cliquishness that happened when groups of more than two girls got together.
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#9 of 22 Old 04-23-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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No.... it was always other girls I was bullied by.  I can't even begin to imagine being in an entire class of them.  Maybe for older teens but it was actually fifth grade where I was bullied the WORST and by girls and the years prior weren't much better.  There were two fifth grade classes... I can't imagine all the girls from both put together and stuck with all of them at once.

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#10 of 22 Old 04-24-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Not for my kid.  I understand (and have read) the research that single gender classes work well for some kids.  However, our family is queer and includes transgender people.  Therefore, i think it would send a very weird message to my kid to say "now you can only be with X kinds of kids"  Also ds is known to wear skirts/dresses, paint his nails, play mostly with girls etc etc.  So I don't think he would be successful in an all male classroom!

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#11 of 22 Old 04-24-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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No, but my DH is British and went to an all male school from age 11 on. I also know several of his friends who had similar educations. They got GREAT educations and most of them have had trouble with relationships with women throughout adulthood.

 

Although the research does point to high academic outcomes for single sex education, the bottom line is that single sex education teaches kids that the other gender is DIFFERENT and that they won't even be able to think straight if they are in the same room. They can't work on projects together, they can't learn the same way, they are just too different.  That's a huge message to teach kids every single day.  And even if they eat lunch together and have art together, the message is still "you can't do real work together."

 

If this were the 1800's that would be fine, that it just doesn't prepare them for the real world, which includes men and women working together and *ideally* treating each other as equals.

 

 


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#12 of 22 Old 04-24-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ldavis24 View Post

for everyone who said yes and said they could give their reasons. I would be very interested to hear them as I have not ever really considered it before...DD will have an opportunity to go to a really good private school without having to pay tuition (local students attend, subsidized by tax dollars) and it is mixed gender and now I am curious about the whole same gender thing....I thought that her school was as good as we could do for her education wise!



There are many wonderful mixed gender schools, and wonderful single gender schools.  You'll find this through each grade level, as well as college level education, and summer camp programs as well!  As with everything regarding raising children, you alone know your child, your family's values, and what a good fit would look like.  Sometimes this changes over time, or with evolving needs or desires.

 

In our situation, I come from several generations either partially or wholly educated in single sex environments.  Partially I think it was a piece of the times-private elementary and high schools tended to be single sex in my grandparent's and parent's generations/locations. 

 

I attended a primarily single sex undergrad, and the grad school I attended was mixed gender for only those degrees above undergrad.  I loved it for so many reasons.  My elem school experience, and dh's as well, was very positive.  We both attended mixed gender, public high schools, with good experiences as well. It hasn't been our experience that we, or our friends, or parents have had difficult adult relationships based on single sex education.

 

I would look at a single sex school for my ds because, what I observe, is that school is not always an easy place for boys to be.  I can see that if the program was right, there would be benefits to my son to be in a single sex environment.  I would love to see my son in a place where the boy energy I see in his class was the norm, and not something to be "dealt with".  Naturally, this can be done in any good teaching environment, but if I had a choice, at this moment in time, I would choose single sex.  We are strongly considering it for middle school.

 

When my dd had her first overnight camp experience, we chose a single sex camp as well.  She's extremely social and not in the least dysfunctional in her relationships with friends of the opposite sex.  It's simply a choice-not better or worse than other educational choices, just different.  I am not sure my dd would like single sex at this moment (middle school)t, but I can see it appealing to her at some point.  Who knows? I would be very supportive of that choice should she want it.

 

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#13 of 22 Old 06-09-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mar123 View Post

My children all attend mixed gender classes until 8th grade- then they go to single sex high schools. Having taught in mixed gender and single sex schools, I vote single sex all the way. There are numerous reasons which have nothing to do with only education. I could list them if anyone was interested.



I would be very interested in hearing about your thoughts on this. We are in a position where we are considering a schooling change for our children (currently in a co-ed school) and one of the options is single sex.  There is one in particular that I am quite interested in but it`s for girls. So while there are many things i like about it (single sex being part of it), I still have to decide if this will be the right choice.

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#14 of 22 Old 06-10-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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I am a wishy-washy maybe. I think I would only choose single sex schooling if the alternatives for mixed classes weren't acceptable. I know there is research supporting separating boys and girls, but I'm not convinced. 

 

While there may be general differences in how boys and girls learn and behave, I think there's a pretty big variation within each sex. Unless the single-sex class accommodated those variations, then it could be as harmful to some children as it is beneficial to others. And if the single-sex classroom accommodated those variations, then it should be able to manage a co-ed group. 

 

For example, if most boys tend to learn better in a class that allows them lots of movement and hands-on activities, presumably the all-male school uses this kind of instruction. There will be some boys who learn differently - more stereotypically "girl-like" quiet studying and learning from observation, if you will. The all-male school should accommodate the "girl-like" learning and if it can, then presumably it can accommodate girls who learn like this too. I know that this example reeks of stereotypes and generalizations, so I apologize for that, but I think it reflects the general research and arguments for single-sex classes.  

 

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#15 of 22 Old 06-13-2011, 08:13 PM
 
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I'm not sure what I would do with dd if that opportunity came along at that age, but I would LOVE to teach a single-sex class. My one math class this year was 6 boys and 1 girl (we are a tiny school) and as much as I loved the girl in that class, when she was absent the dynamic was SO different and the idea of having just the boys was really intriguing. The other middle school teacher would love to try it too, but we just don't have enough kids in our school to split them up like that!

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#16 of 22 Old 06-14-2011, 06:23 AM
 
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I think it would depend on my daughter and what I felt she needed.  But moreso than the idea of the sexes "learning differently" I would think this experiment is aimed at correcting the lack of confidence and erosion of self-esteem that begins to happen around fifth grade.  Has anyone read Reviving Ophelia?

 

http://www.amazon.com/Reviving-Ophelia-Adolescent-Ballantine-Readers/dp/0345392825

 

I used to work for a women's organization (AAUW) that sponsored a lot of research on women and academic achievement and I believe a lot of the research points to girls in classroom settings being ignored or passed over for the boys.  Either the teachers thought is that the girls are quiet and no problem, or that they already know it and it's more important to work with the boys--it's not often blatant sexism but when it happens every day the message that could be internalized is "be quiet and let Johnny answer" and I do believe that happens a lot.

 

Also-I would be interested in any special program at my DD's public school is quite good, but when I look at it, it seems merely adequate.  I would love for her to have the benefit of a special program that was put together with a consideration for more than test scores.

 

 

 

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#17 of 22 Old 06-14-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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Sorry I am just getting back to this now. It has been a very busy end of school year.

 

Aside from the learning differences, there are other reasons why I prefer single gender schools for my kids.

 

1. The primary reason is less pressure. In the mixed school where I teach, there always seems to be some drama about who is dating who, why he didn't say "hi" in the hallway, etc. In other words, major distractions. Also, the boys and girls both seem to have this pressure to sit with the other person at lunch instead of with friends. If they don't, the other half of the couple spends the rest of the day analyzing the action of the other. Sigh. Also, most girls I know at all girl schools tend to wake up, throw on the uniform, and go. No spending hours on hair and make up to impress some guy. Same thing for the boys.

 

2. Leadership. Both boys and girls benefit when they can take leadership roles. It has been proven in studies that girls tend to take more leadership roles in all girl schools. I have to say that in many schools today, girls tend to run things like student council, etc. So maybe now it benefits the boys to be in an all boy school.

 

3. Sports. In all girl schools, the sports for girls are more highly valued. As the mother of a girl who wants to play high school basketball, I like this. When I taught at an all girls school, we had pep rallies for all the sports- volleyball, basketball, softball, etc. The cheerleaders cheered at all the sports for all the girls.. At the mixed gender school it is ALL ABOUT FOOTBALL. I mean, all about football. It rules and everyone knows it.

 

I have to add that I have three kids- 1 boy, 2 girls. So the socialization issue and being around the opposite sex is not really an issue for my kids; they were in mixed gender schools until 8th grade, and they still keep in contact with members of the opposite sex. Also, the older ones are involved in CYO, and there is plenty of opportunity for socialization there. The boys' and girls' school have dances and mixers, as well as joint-service projects- these are all ways to interact with others.

 

Finally, it is all about making the right decision for YOUR kids. My kids have known since K that their high schools would be single gender schools and the idea of anything else would seem odd to them.

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#18 of 22 Old 06-14-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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oh it would be ideal for my child...

 

... as long as she was the only girl in a class of boys. 

 

she just cannot handle all the girl things that are presently going on in 3rd grade. she gets along better with boys and always has. 

 

honestly for me it would be a hard call. i have never been in a mixed classroom. so i cant really tell the difference. however i will say like my dd and my mom, i got along better with boys and just overall did not relate well to girls. even today i have v. little in common with women than i have with men. 

 

i am not sure if really made that much difference to me. 

 

honestly when it comes down to that i find the key thing that matters is the teacher. dd has been v. lucky that she has teachers that have recognised her and really know her. everything else is not that important. 

 

 


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#19 of 22 Old 06-14-2011, 10:01 PM
 
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We are trying this out in the fall with our 5th grade DD.  I don't have any experience with separating by gender, but apparently it's sought after at some schools/programs and we were lucky to get a spot.  I agreed to apply for it b/c DD kept raving about it and begging to do it next year - they call it the GREAT program - and I talked to a few teachers, the principal, and support staff at the school to get their input.  Oh, and it's only for part of the day for her "core classes" - then she'll have a homeroom that has both boys and girls.  We shall see how it goes. 


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#20 of 22 Old 06-15-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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Maybe...

 

It depends on the child. Gender differences in learning tend to be generalized by teachers and if I know my child doesn't learn the way his or her gender is 'supposed' to learn, I'm not going to stick them in a single gendered class just so the girls can be "quiet little workers" or the boys can be "active little learners".


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#21 of 22 Old 06-15-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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My kids go to an alternative school, and my younger DD is a bright, normal, quiet girl. She does her work. Teachers at traditional school liked her because she totally fell into the "quiet little worker" mold.

 

However, there is a really high % of kids with ADD/ ADHD at the alternative school (some of them are the kids who truly cannot cope with traditional school, and there's a high % of boys) and DD loves the way this affects her classes. The teachers HAVE to keep it interesting. They HAVE to mix it up. They HAVE to let the kids get messy and use their hands.

 

It's fun and it's interesting, and even though she made straight As in regular school, she feels she's learning more now and making deeper connection. For her, being where the lessons are geared to active boys really works.


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#22 of 22 Old 06-16-2011, 05:13 AM
 
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Not for my kids. DS would be miserable, since many of his friends are girls. He is a quiet observer, not a wild tough guy. DD could go either way, though I  suppose its still to early to tell.

 

As a child I would have been miserable. I never understood the complex submeanings behind every statement in the all girls cliques. The guys would say it like it is, and were there for learning. I remember when it became socially acceptable to ONLY and EVER hang out with the same sex - I mean it was so black and white it could have been a rule writen in blood. This was about 3rd grade. I was miserable, from then until high school, when boys and girls got back to mixing again, and normal. Oh how I hope this does not happen with my kids. hmm, I think I'll make a new thread.

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