One of the most important decisions a parent can make is where to send her child to school. Among the many decisions (which include school location versus offered programs, and public versus private), there is the choice of sending a child to a same-sex or co-ed school. Co-education is the most common type, but it has its advantages and disadvantages.
CON: Females Study Better in All-Female Classes
Experts have shown that in many classes, especially in subjects that are considered to be "male domains" like engineering and math, teachers subconsciously give preferential treatment to male students. Female students might receive less attention or less encouragement, and therefore will be less likely to perform as well as the males; it may also force a girl student's attention towards the arts and humanities, even if her real interest lies in the sciences.
CON: Differences in Male and Female Learning
According to the site Girls Learn Differently, a girl's brain actually processes information differently, and thus a girl's learning style and behavior will deviate from her male counterparts'. For example, a girl is attracted to stimuli such as colors and textures, while boys are more attracted to stimuli such as direction and motion. An all-girls' school or an all-boys' school could tailor its curriculum to the particular learning style of their students, which will make it easier for students to pick up new information.
CON: Male/Female Interaction Promotes Distraction
For children of all ages, interacting with the opposite sex can cause anxiety or self-consciousness. Dating might divert a girl away from her studies, or changing hormones could cause a boy to become less involved in school. Teasing often involves two children of the opposite sex. All of these scenarios could produce negative effects such as fear or low self-esteem, which will certainly affect a child's education and, in the worst case scenario, performance as an older child or adult.
PRO: Preparation for the Real World
Co-ed schools enable students to interact with the opposite sex, which is a mandatory skill for all adults working and living in society. It's important for students to feel as comfortable discussing and socializing with students of the same sex as they are with the opposite sex, which will make them more confident in their future lives.
PRO: Exposure to Different View Points and People
Studies have shown that male students' exposure to female classmates can have a calming effect, which shows that simply combining boys and girls in classes has an effect on behavior. Studies have shown that males and females do have different patterns of behavior and attitudes; being exposed to multiple attitudes and behaviors can prepare a student for survival in the world and advances open-mindedness.
PRO: Respect for the Opposite Gender
Discouraging interaction between boys and girls also discourages the respect that naturally develops when both sexes interact regularly in the same environment. It is much easier for a boy to develop stereotypes about females when he does not see them in an environment promoting equality.
Lexi Sorenson has been writing professionally since 2008. She has published articles in periodicals such as "The Maryland Gazette," "The Hamilton Spectator" and "Make." In addition to blogging, she writes fiction in her spare time. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from McGill University.