On air from Cornwall: Do girls and boys learn better apart?

So here we go with three live shows from Cornwall in the south-west of England. We’re starting at Truro High School for Girls, where we’ll be in one of the boarding house common rooms. (And let me declare an interest. I went to Truro School across the way, which was for boys when I started and co-ed by the time I left.) So where does same sex education fit in to our vision of our to bring up our children? Are they better together or apart? Here are stories to suggest this debate is far from over…

Leading headteacher in the UK says girls and boys learn in different ways, and same sex education is better.

Saudi Arabia to build new women only university

It’s an ongoing debate in New York

This is old but worth reading. Online debate from 2004.

152 Responses to “On air from Cornwall: Do girls and boys learn better apart?”

  1. December 2, 2008 at 23:04

    “Do girls and boys learn better apart?”

    Girls and boys learn better when their parents are involved in their education.

  2. 2 Evan
    December 3, 2008 at 01:42

    Perhaps in a single-sex environment, boys and girls would learn better and faster, but keeping them separated is detrimental to their social development and education. When we separate the sexes, they can’t learn to interact with and respect each other.

  3. 3 steve
    December 3, 2008 at 03:10

    so much for equality, huh? I thought separate can never be equal?

  4. 4 steve
    December 3, 2008 at 03:11

    I think if you separate the sexes, people tend to behave better. There is less bullying. I went to two jewish summer camps. The first one was coed, and it was pretty bad. All the guys were trying to impress the girls, bad behavior left and right. Then I went to an orthodox camp where they segregated the sexes, and everyone got along a lot better, but missed the girls. I cannot say about this in the educational context, for purposes of learning, but I think behavior would be better if the sexes were segregated.

  5. 5 peter stanslaus
    December 3, 2008 at 12:14

    I think they do learn better because one tend to concentrate in his/her studies better due to the supportive environment.

  6. December 3, 2008 at 13:12

    All the statistics prove that academic education is better in a single-sex environment. However, what I’m not sure of is whether the slight academic advantage is outweighed by the lack of experience in “life skills”.

  7. 7 roebert
    December 3, 2008 at 14:01

    I attended both types of high school. The co-ed one was nicer because there were all the pretty girls, many of whom broke my heart, and one in particular has left me with nostalgic twinges ever after. Also, girls tend to have a civilising effect on young lads, and to draw the best out of them. What boys give to girls in return, I really can’t say.

    At the boys’ school the atmosphere was more formal and old-fashioned. The headmaster appeared onstage each morning in his gown and mortar, and recited 1 Corinthians 13: ‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become a tinkling cymbal and a sounding brass etc.’

    There was more application to boys’ needs from the teachers, and I think that the quality of education was higher in the semi-monastic environment. You were being made a man of, and hopefully a gentleman of sorts.

    But I missed the girls…a lot.

  8. December 3, 2008 at 14:11

    For certain ages, certain classes yes, if the statistics can show that single sex classes are better then go ahead. But some mixed classes should be also used in subjects were it doesn’t make a difference to promopt the life skills leanring.

    The big question for me would be , what if the stats showed, for example, that girls learnt better in single sex classes for one subject whilst boys learnt better in mixed classes for the same subject. Who would we sacrifice in those circumstances?

  9. December 3, 2008 at 14:12

    On a side note: Hasn’t this been discussed multiple times already?

    Like I said last time: The purpose of education is to provide the foundation and teaching for real life. There are boys and girls which live and play together in the real world as grown-ups. I don’t think kids should be separated during education. I wouldn’t have been able to stand going to school with all males, eh, thats just me though…

  10. 10 Asiya
    December 3, 2008 at 14:15

    Well I attended a pretegious girl’s school in my elementary education and a co-ed one in secondary school and honestly, I never felt the difference as far as education. Although i simply liked the girls only enviroment because there seemed to be a great deal less female agression and competition.

  11. 11 steve
    December 3, 2008 at 14:17

    @ roebert

    Actually, the only fights I recall seeing from my school days were girl fights, fighting over guys. Really violent stuff. Never saw any guys get into fights on school grounds.

  12. 12 gary
    December 3, 2008 at 14:23

    I believe that for a fairly brief period during young peoples’ lives, separate education is probably more efficient. Personally, I was only seriously distracted by one young woman (and have remained so for 49 years); but a more precocious male friend in the 6th grade (~13 years of age) was suspended for making rude suggestions to an attractive female teacher (a nun, btw). That event not withstanding, i would guess best effect for most children might be achieved if separate classes began at about 12 years and continued perhaps to 18 years, or older if this is a personal student choice. I don’t think separate facilities or restriction of socialization out of class is necessary (or even a good idea). There’s just no use arguing about absolute equality in such separated circumstances, because educational opportunity isn’t equal in co-ed classes. Tailoring programs to fit gender-different learning styles might achieve more equal results than actual equality. The idea about this discussion that I find most amazing is that the question has not been yet been answered in a fully quantified way. I mean; as a society, our only useful product is us! Why do we not know how to produce the best product possible?

  13. 13 Donnamarie Leemann
    December 3, 2008 at 14:26

    Hi, World Have Your Say Team,

    Boys and girls don’t only need to learn academic subjects in school.

    Boys need to learn about girls, girls need to learn about boys, and they all need to learn how to interact with one another. They cannot do this in a single-sex educational environment.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  14. 14 Muhammad Asim Munir
    December 3, 2008 at 14:28

    Hi WHYS,

    I hope you all are fine.

    Well, in my personal view, the thing that makes the difference is the SOCIAL SETUP. How frequently and up to what extent girls and guys interact with each other in their society is what affects their performance at the place where they study/work together.

    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.

  15. 15 selena in Canada
    December 3, 2008 at 14:37

    Separating the sexes seems artificial to me. But then isn’t school artificial? Should children be required to spend their young lives in a building, regardless of the purpose?

    I went to a co-ed school and the girls were always dodging boys who had the usual boy stuff on their minds. Some girls were intimidated and I don’t think that is good. It was detrimental to the learning process.

    Perhaps a better way is to rethink education and its purpose of producing little automatons. Maybe education could be redesigned so that the question of being separate, or not, would not carry the same weight.

  16. December 3, 2008 at 14:52

    No. My son has a small learning disability and get help regularly from a girl in his class, the boys just make fun of him. There should be seperating boys and girls. They need each other to develop properly.

  17. 17 John in Salem
    December 3, 2008 at 14:54

    Children do tend to learn better in a single sex environment without the fog of pheromones getting in the way, but there is another solution that is far more effective and cheaper than building new schools – uniforms. In schools all over the country, from inner cities to the suburbs, those that require students to wear a standard uniform see a dramatic improvement in grade performance and discipline.

  18. 18 Dinka Alpayo,kampala
    December 3, 2008 at 14:56

    I don`t thinks so, seperates schools is a common practice in my country Southern Sudan but it doesn`t work much as it was thought to e because majority of girls cannot manage to stay in a NO BOY environment not because of boys supremacy, it is that both girls and boys needs proper cares from each other to be successfull in their educations life.

  19. December 3, 2008 at 15:03

    I’m with John in agreeing that uniforms dramatically improve performance and discipline, but how do you impliment them in public schools? Who pays for them? How are they issued?

  20. 20 Savane, Nairobi
    December 3, 2008 at 15:05

    I went to an all-girls Catholic school from Year 1 To Year 13! I turned out fantastic! My husband went to a co-ed school from )ears 1-7 and an all-boys’ boarding school for Years 8-13! He’s turned out fantastic too!

    Our daughters are in a co-ed Christian-based school that runs from K-Yr13. One’s the Year 7, the other in Year 2. They’re turning out to be dynamic, and dare I say, fantastic smart girls too!

    What’s interesting is that the girls in their school, across the board, are more outgoing, get higher grades and are extremely competitive academically and in sports and other extra-curricula activities (trade fairs, debates, music, mock-UN, etc).

    I think it’s a function of the way boys are being raised and socialised in Kenya. Dads and male role models are not as visible and supportive as the mothers and female role models for the girls.

    My daughters’ school’s headmaster (is that correct English?) has made this a key priority for the school and he recently asked parents this question which I think should be answered across the world:

    “Why are boys plaiting their hair, wearing makeup and painting their nails?”

    Over to you!!

  21. December 3, 2008 at 15:05

    Hello Everyone,
    I once used to study in a single sex school in Saudi Arabia.Well,I don’t see much difference in my education then and now(Now I study in a coed school).I guess before I had fewer competitors than now.But yes I don’t see any point in separating the sexes.I mean when there are boys and girls fighting for the same top position the standard rises and students become more competitive.
    Now let me give an example:In my school there are 2 sections-Coed and Girls.The girls section has classes up to class 9 after which they have to come to the coed section.This year 15 of the top girls came from that section and now they compete with us.In our semester exams this time all 15 girls scored less than 70 percent and most boys scored more than 80 percent.This clearly showed that they were over pampered there and now they have troubles competing with us.So if they could have been here from before they could have done better.Wouldn’t they?

    My point was not to bore you guys with my personal stories.But,what I mean to say is that when boys and girls compete together the standard of education rises.

    Thank you

  22. December 3, 2008 at 15:16

    “Why are boys plaiting their hair, wearing makeup and painting their nails?”

    It’s the new(ish) ’emo’ style lol… Though it was big in the 80s too… The goth kids have been doing it for years as well…
    They wear girls pants now too, thats the big thing hahaha

  23. 23 bluecranemedia
    December 3, 2008 at 15:20

    What a stupid question.
    I can’t believe people even bother to reply!
    Like me!!


  24. 24 selena in Canada
    December 3, 2008 at 15:21

    They wear girls pants now too, thats the big thing hahaha

    Will that help them shed macho? 😉

  25. 25 selena in Canada
    December 3, 2008 at 15:23


    Now that’s a titillating post!

  26. 26 Justin from Iowa
    December 3, 2008 at 15:36

    Ross, Sorry this is off topic but its been bugging me… why do you always write in from other people’s e-mail? Did you let your own expire or something? Too inconvenient to just log out and log back in? Afraid the gremlins are tracking your every movement so you’ve gotta send in e-mails secret agent style?


  27. 27 Zack
    December 3, 2008 at 15:37

    Boys & girls need to learn together.

    Whenever I’ve encountered girls and even young women in their 20s who have been isolated from boys either because of religion or because of class divisions (American sorority girls at university) I’ve always felt like I’m dealing with half-persons.

    I mean that. Their personalities were only half developed, like someone locked in a basement for years.

    I am sure that to the people who want to control such girls and young women, that’s desired because they are vulnerable to being manipulated and exploited.

    But to any normal person they appear to be victims.

  28. December 3, 2008 at 15:39

    Since you ask justin, it’s because i can’t bulk email off my yahoo or when i log-in to the bbc externally. so when we’re on trips someone back at base has to do the sending. now back to the single sex schooling debate before this bulk email subject catches fire…

  29. 29 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 15:39

    RE: Dress codes

    I was in high school when the simpsons came out, and I was the first person to have a simpsons Tshirt. They started to ban them, becuase of them was “underachiever and proud” and I was told I had to turn it inside out, despite being a straight A student.

    Dress codes are stupid unless it’s for the purpose of protecting life. If students kill each other over clothes, which has been known to happen, then yes, I am not in objection.

  30. 30 Luis from Argentina (Buenos Aires
    December 3, 2008 at 15:47

    I don´t think so.Teachers have to join together theirs pupils to create a good atmoshere.When It is done….Learning is easy to everyone but we need the colaboration of them.

  31. December 3, 2008 at 16:03

    On the uniforms aspect. I agree with them. Here in Cape Coral, a lot more than not of the public elementary schools are uniformed to a point. The parents buy them at places like Wal-Mart or Target for usually less than regular back to school clothes. Everyone wears the same colors and general styles. My son, though, goes to one of the only few that are not uniformed. I find no difference in the behavior or learning. I think it is all about what they study and how it is presented. The teachers must engage the class and ensure that ALL students are offered the same opprotunity. A healthy mixture of students will lead to a well adjusted class. I serve on my son’s schools Student Advisory Council and we cover these topics regularly.

  32. 32 Colleen
    December 3, 2008 at 16:05

    i find this to be an interesting topic.

    I went to:

    K – 8th: co-ed; catholic; run by the parrish
    Highschool: girls only; private; independent (i.e. not run by the diocese); catholic
    College: co-ed; private; catholic
    Masters: co-ed; private; no religious affiliation

    In my opinion, single sex education is more advantageous for girls than it is for boys. The boys in single sex school I knew were often less mature and less ept at interacting with women. Also they tended to hold more stereotypical veiws of male/female roles then guys who attended co-ed high schools. I know that is a generalization, but that has been my experience.

    All girls schools, however, seem to have the opposite effect. Girls take on more leadership roles and experience in these environments. Also there are less distractions in a single sex atmosphere. Again this doesnt mean that co-ed schools don’t have the same results, but i think it can be good for girls. I wouldn’t say 100% single sex education would be advisable for anyone though.

  33. 33 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 16:05

    I think the will to learn is more important than who is in the classroom.

    Look at the DC area, many students don’t even show up for exams required for graduation.


    Every argument I have ever heard in favor of sex segregated schools has been based in perpetuating female insecurities. They don’t want to feel dumb, they don’t want this, dont’ want that. Life isn’t going to allow you to be protected from what you fear. You’ll one day have to face it, best to get it over with earlier. It’s like the concept of female only gyms, because women are so insecure they don’t want men to see them while they are excercising. That’s pretty infantile. Why would we enable insecurities like this? Do you think enabling something like that is a good thing?

  34. December 3, 2008 at 16:06

    My point was it saves the clothing aspect of being made fun of. Sorry, I lost my train of thought. I also helps keep costs low for parents. It does limit some self expression, but it keeps pants pulled up and necklines and mid sections at acceptable levels.

  35. 35 Luise
    December 3, 2008 at 16:07

    Boys and girls may learn better apart, but do you only go to school to learn something? I think it is more interesting to learn together with the other sex. Moreover I don’t think that the teachers are able to teach the boys and girls in different ways and I don’t think that even if they could, it wouldn’t get the pupil better.
    I go to a school for boys and girls and I am sure that I’d hate to go to school if I hadn’t had the boys, because they’re funny and simply… different. It would be boring without them.

  36. 36 Justin from Iowa
    December 3, 2008 at 16:09

    Thanks Ross. On topic:

    We don’t live our lives in single-sex environments. We don’t work in a single sex environment (unless its a single sex school!). Learning in school in a single sex environment retards our learning in the real world, after you leave the single sex environment.

    I view single sex schools as something more suited to a closeted society, some place where because of religion or beliefs men and women are not allowed to mix except in private.

    So I’m not in favor of single sex schools. But, in the US and Britain it is, as the saying goes, a free country. While in the long term it isn’t ideal in my opinion, and may be to the student’s detriment, it doesn’t cause insurmountable problems in the students lives after school, so if parents/students choose this, its their choice.

  37. December 3, 2008 at 16:18

    Hello again,
    I see people talking about dressing sense.Well thats where my school is way to modern(sorry for talking personal).Here girls can choose whatever they want to wear.They can wear pants or put on Salwar kameez(traditional Bengali dress).In that way there must not be much trouble.

  38. December 3, 2008 at 16:19

    It depends on how the child is raised.

  39. 39 Lynette
    December 3, 2008 at 16:19

    I think single-sex education during the years when children are rapidly changing into adults is beneficial, but only if girl’s and boy’s needs are thoroughly nurtured. Otherwise, I think it can be harmful. I attended an all-female high school after being in the coeducational system for most of my child/young adulthood, and it helped me focus on my studies because there were no boys to impress or worry about. It also helped me to become more confident when it comes to my intelligence.

    When I went to college, I was shocked at how grown women were still shy of speaking in class. Contrary to popular belief, coming from an all-girls school that nurtured me so well caused me to act in the exact opposite manner. I was taught that being a well-spoken, assertive, engaging woman was a thing to be celebrated and that girl’s could be anything they wanted. I live by this belief and it makes all the difference in a world that still treats women as secondary beings..

  40. 40 Vijay
    December 3, 2008 at 16:25

    Do girls and boys learn better apart?

    Learn what better apart, are you talking about academics or life(eg social interaction)?
    Certainly girls benefit academically in maths and science and from an environment that is free from some of the attitudes and prejudices of society.

  41. December 3, 2008 at 16:29

    I would think yes because at learning age, there are other things running like hormones.Such that if boys and girls are mixed, there is always a lot of distraction and likely testoronic imbalance that makes learning a challenge.

  42. 42 Roy, Washington DC
    December 3, 2008 at 16:29

    Part of what you learn at school is how to interact with others. Being exposed to peers of both genders can only help in this regard.

  43. 43 Anthony from Cleveland Ohio
    December 3, 2008 at 16:31

    I taught Martial arts for ten years, adults, young adults, and children. I have found that at younger ages, girls learn faster than boys, but I have not seen any evidence that girls or boys learn better apart. Their learning has a lot to do with the teachers, and the parents. The teachers must teach them the study habits, and the parents have to enforce the study habits, and give them help if and when they need it.

  44. 44 selena in Canada
    December 3, 2008 at 16:32

    Life isn’t going to allow you to be protected from what you fear.

    How true! But a strange remark coming from someone who thinks we can be protected from some elements of society, if we use enough force!!

  45. 45 Colleen
    December 3, 2008 at 16:37

    @ steve

    “because women are so insecure they don’t want men to see them while they are excercising.”

    thats a pretty extreme generalization. and the point of single sex education is to temporarily remove girls from stereotypical ideas such as these so they can develop their own intellect and ideas. then they can effectively refute them later in life 🙂

  46. December 3, 2008 at 16:38

    Hello again,

    I forgot to mention social interaction.Boys usually forget how to interact with boys and vice-versa.This can be a disadvantage when people cannot interact with each other.

    Thanks again

  47. 47 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 16:48

    @ Colleen

    The purpose you list is based upon the insecurity women have. The single gender classes will only perpetuate any stereotype.

    Why do you think gyms like “curves” exist or why are there women only hours at gyms at Harvard university? there are no men only hours. Why? Because of insecurities. You only make insecurities worse when you enable them.

  48. 48 Savane, Nairobi
    December 3, 2008 at 16:53

    @ Brett
    I don’t understand your comment.

    Maybe my point doesn’t quite fit perfectly into today’s topic, but I do believe there is some relevance to it.

    The point I’m making is that in Kenya, we’ve focused on the girl-child and female empowerment for so long, which does have its benefits, but, at the expense of the boy-child. Roles have changed dramatically for females and generally, our boys are being left behind. They haven’t evolved as positively as the girls, and their role models are more female than male. Plus, it’s unfortunate that in a co-ed environment, they aren’t ‘stepping up to the plate’. But in same-sex schools, they are more competitive.

    I think it’s a problem because they are sometimes seen as uninterested and lacking ambition and drive.

    It’s a socialisation problem. There are role models, but there isn’t enough male involvement as they grow.

    I don’t have a problem with co-ed schools and I agree that they are a true representation of the real world, which is co-ed!

  49. December 3, 2008 at 17:10

    My response to you was highlighting the ‘feminization of male youth’ or a stray from the norm, not in roles but aesthetically. I was agreeing with your statement and offering instances of changes in US youth styles.

  50. 50 Laura
    December 3, 2008 at 17:11

    I work at a single sex school for men in the US, and I think it does serve a particular need. Since I’m a woman, I can’t fully understand what magic happens when prospective students come on campus to visit. There are a lot of good points-for some guys, they really need that focus of single sex education, and it’s a lot easier to develop a sense of masculinity here. However, we’ve got a lot of issues with masculinity and wellness as well, and it’s hard to incorporate diverse perspectives.

  51. 51 Anthony
    December 3, 2008 at 17:27

    Yes, they do learn a bit better in the later grades, but don’t forget why all guys know to go for the girls that went to the “All Girl Catholic Schools”.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  52. 52 Colleen
    December 3, 2008 at 17:31

    @ steve

    i go to/ work at a university comparable to Harvard and there are both “men only” and “women only” hours at the gym pool. maybe harvard should consider instituting men-only hours too!

    also gyms like curves are not created solely because of women’s body insecurity issues. that is s sexist stereotype. there are plenty of men who are just as insecure about their own bodies. but due to physical differences between males and females, having specialized work out facilities does not seem strange.

    and your assumption that same-sex schools somehow breed stereotypical insecurites is just that — an assumption. studies have proven otherwise. you often site rampant female insecurity on these blogs. if you think this situation is so widespread, but single sex edu is less common than co-ed, is co-education succeeding in stamping out these insecurities? your arguument does not hold up.

  53. December 3, 2008 at 17:38

    Hi WHYSers!

    I went to a coed school, so I am biased that way. What I wonder though is what does “better” mean in some of these discussions? Recently, there was a report on 60 Minutes, as well as CNN that there is a need for more male teachers in classrooms, early on in the education system. This way, it is argued, boys will perform better. The same discussion is happening in Jamaica, where girls seem to be outperforming and outnumbering boys the higher up the education ladder we go. I am not sure where the single sex education component comes in here, but I would be interested to know all the same.

  54. December 3, 2008 at 17:40

    I went to a coed private grade school. Right before we graduated we were tested. The test results had everyone either at where students were supposed to be or at collegiate levels. The only discipline problems I ever saw came from the “tough kids” of either sex, who had behavioral problems both inside and outside of school. In high school, another coed environment, it was the same scenario. Those of either sex that were prone to fighting fought, and the rest of went on with learning. Neither sex was prone to more fighting than the other.

  55. 55 Tom D Ford
    December 3, 2008 at 17:47

    @ gary December 3, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    “The idea about this discussion that I find most amazing is that the question has not been yet been answered in a fully quantified way. I mean; as a society, our only useful product is us! Why do we not know how to produce the best product possible?

    Hm, let me trim that just a little more, to:

    “I mean; as a society, our only useful product is us! Why do we not know how to produce the best product possible?

    Well. I am flat stunned!

    That is the most elegant, (in the way that mathematicians consider “elegant”), and concise statement and question that I have seen in a very long time.

    So. How do we “produce the best product possible”?

    Isn’t that really the core question that WHYS has danced around and that religion and politics, schools, businesses, families, science, indeed all of human exploration and endeavor has been about?

    “I mean; as a society, our only useful product is us! Why do we not know how to produce the best product possible?


  56. 56 Tony From Singapura
    December 3, 2008 at 18:13

    I don’t see much advantage in segregating the sexes in secondary school, as soon as the students move on to University they are in a co-ed scenario anyway.

    Let them find out what each other looks like while at school, then there is less distraction in the first year of University. University is a place of much greater freedom compared to the more highly disciplined school regime, as such it is easier to succumb to the distractions and go off the rails academically.

    I say Co-Ed better prepares the children for the social context of their early University years.

    My experience was an all-guys secondary school. The Christian Brother Head Master had a rule that in general we were not allowed to look at girls, however if they were Catholic we were permitted a discreet glance 🙂

  57. 57 Jennifer
    December 3, 2008 at 18:32

    Re: So where does same sex education fit in to our vision of our to bring up our children? Are they better together or apart?

    I think things to take into consideration are the way boys learn vs. the way girls learn, what subjects each grasp better, etc.

    When I was in middle school the teachers did an experimental separation of the boys from the girls because there was one boy that was very disruptive to everyone. The teacher would spend so much time talking directly to him that it took away from the rest of the class. We had recesses so we were not without boy/girl social interaction; which is important too. I personally thought the separation was great. However, it only lasted about a month.

    Unless a child lives under a rock, they will have interaction with other people their age, both male and female, regardless of what type of school they attend.

  58. 58 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    December 3, 2008 at 18:49

    Hi All,
    It is not a question if boys or girls need to be apart to learn. Schools cannot cater to each child. The parents should be able to chose what will work for their child. Parents need to take an active part of education their children. They also need to support the teachers more. If your child is not behaving correctly take care of it. 30 years ago when I was in school you could not disrespect a teacher, Today it is common place and that is more departmental to a learning environment.


  59. December 3, 2008 at 18:51

    i went to a private co ed school and my best friend went to a single sex private school. Her mum did not take it too well when i got better results than her in my a-levels, although we have both ended up doing simlar university courses, and are invovled in similar plans now.

    Surely there is more seperation and isolation from private boarding schools, the argument my parents allways real out is not that single sex makes a difference, but that private schools prevent children mixing with other children from lower economic backgrounds. This ultimately effects there social understanding of the world, now i am not saying this is true of all private school pupils, but i think that sometimes private single sex schools only give a very narrow view of the world and society.

  60. December 3, 2008 at 18:52

    @ Brett – Schools dictate the uniform (of which I agree with) and the parents buy it.

    To the question – and to me this is important: When the government, no matter which hue, tells me what education will be – I’ll answer the question at hand. Each year even the same government changes what education is! So how are we to say what is the best learning environment?

    IF government and prospective government could come up with an education policy that would be set in stone for, say, 20 years – then you could come to some conclusions. Education is played, like so many other things, like a political football – take it off the table, train teachers, get parents REALLY involved and make policy and then leave it alone!

  61. December 3, 2008 at 18:54

    Learning apart?..Living apart.?growing apart..?? As teacher education is key for the developing of the person. We are forming not individuals but persons. And through education we provide children different experiences where respect, team work, equaly opportunities and of course competiton are involved. Education prepares the human being to face a changing and challenging world, a world that more and more demands from us to able to adapt and to work as team. Teams in our world are shaped by persons of course taking in count their abilities, skills and talent. But not gender. The real world will demend from us to be tolerant, to be able of learning from each other, to show respect and the will to share common objectives in our lives.
    In my country there are some schools for girls or just boys, but this depends on the vision and mission of the institution. Because according with this, parents are supposed to choose the suitable school -education for their children according with their expectations.
    Education must create an environment where provide the necessary experiences to enrich the panorama in children lives. For me ,as teacher, girls and boys shoud learn, share and grow together, because that is the objective of education. We are not just providing information and knowledge…we are forming persons.

  62. 62 Anthony
    December 3, 2008 at 18:55

    Well, according to this study, same sex classes in grade school helped academically quite a bit:


    -Anthony, LA, CA

  63. 63 Ogola Benard
    December 3, 2008 at 18:55

    I would think this depends on the environment – At an earlier age yah but later better to get mixed. The main reason is that as they grow up, they will have to work in a mixed environment. But how would we consider times of games? Is it also girls and boys alone?

  64. 64 vijay
    December 3, 2008 at 18:57

    Talking about insecurities ,I have heard that at some co-ed universities there are shared restrooms and bathrooms,men and women even live in adjacent rooms.

  65. December 3, 2008 at 19:00

    @ Rawpol

    male teachers in classrooms, early on in the education system.

    Not going to happen. A male friend of mine wanted to be a teacher – when he had a look at what he would be ‘allowed’ to do as a teacher he gave up and went on to IT.

    The perception is of the trailer-trash, gossiping classes (Sun readers) if a male wants to be a teacher then he must be a pervert wanting to be around children. Especially if he should be gay..no wait, especially if he should be straight…I give up.

  66. December 3, 2008 at 19:02

    @ Will:
    Schools dictate the uniform (of which I agree with) and the parents buy it.

    You don’t think the parents, especially in poorer districts would pitch a fit? What if they refuse? Are their children refused an education then?

  67. 67 bluecranemedia
    December 3, 2008 at 19:04

    Learn what?!
    There is all this talk about Learning, but nobody addresses the question What are the little darlings learning?
    Learning how to be like their elders? I hope not. The elders leave behind them a miserable legacy.

    It’s all to Orwellian.


  68. 68 Betsy in Washington DC
    December 3, 2008 at 19:05

    All girls school is beneficial but i do not think an all boys school will work well. Too much testosterone has proven to be lethal. My sister attended an all girls boarding house and turned out better i did. I attended a mixed school.

  69. 69 Mariana in San Francisco
    December 3, 2008 at 19:07

    I am sure that girls and boys are able to focus better in school if they are separated, but I think that it opresses their ability to interact with the opposite sex and can lead to more extreme sexual behavior.

  70. 70 bluecranemedia
    December 3, 2008 at 19:08

    A quote:
    I remember spending the greater part of my childhood wondering about adults. Were they ever children? From their behaviour toward children it seemed to me quite clearly that they could never have possibly been children.
    Ashley Montague

  71. 71 Jonathan
    December 3, 2008 at 19:11

    It’s disturbing to think it, but all the studies I ‘ve heard of show that girls do learn better without boys around. I’m not sure about boys.,There are surely non-academic effects of separating sexes that should be considered too. Maybe the students should be allowed to choose.

    San Francisco

  72. 72 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 19:11

    @ Will

    Interesting. When I really think about it, I only had a handful of male teachers, and most of them were in high school. Teaching is a completely, at least from my experience, female dominated profession. I don’t know if men get accused of being perverts of pedophiles if they want to be teachers, but there are very few male teachers from my experience.

    What is the affect of having primarily all female teachers? Is that good or bad for students, especially male students?

  73. 73 Anthony
    December 3, 2008 at 19:12

    I know many girls that have gone through single sex schools, and when they get out, they become buck wild, and get taken advantage of. I wanted to date girls that have gone to those schools when I was younger, just for that reason.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  74. 74 Lillian Mongeau
    December 3, 2008 at 19:13

    As a graduate of Barnard College, an all women’s college in New York. I’m outgoing and not shy in front of any audience and never would have expected that being at an all women’s school would make much difference. I was wrong. Being a part of that sisterhood has made me more confident in myself and more dedicated to promoting women’s rights around the world. (I met a great guy while in college who I’m still with, ps, so the idea that you can’t meet men while at a single sex school is idiotic.)

  75. December 3, 2008 at 19:13

    @ Brett

    You don’t think the parents, especially in poorer districts would pitch a fit? What if they refuse? Are their children refused an education then?

    The poorer families are given financial help in the form of vouchers. There are certain stores that supply all the local schools uniforms. But with the list you are given the only thing that really needs to be bought from these stores are the school tie, the school blazer and the school coloured jumper (sweater) or sweatshirt because they have the school logo on them.

    Everything else can be bought cheaply from anywhere else – local street markets, Asda (Wal-Mart) etc.

    There was an out-cry when all the uniform had to be bought from a specific store – the mark-up was ridiculous.

    Children are not refused an education – but they can be disciplined but this rarely happens as the school district will help provide for the very poorest of families.

  76. 76 jamily5
    December 3, 2008 at 19:14

    Just because girls and boys do not “learn” together, does not mean that they don’t “socialize” together.
    Why must it always seem extremist. You can have same sex schools and still teach your child to socialize with the opposite sex.
    The main purpose is to help them focus in class and to take away all of the posturing that somes along with the opposite sex interactions.
    I believe that it helps in the learning process.
    But, not all can afford such things.
    So, we have to work with what we have.

  77. December 3, 2008 at 19:14

    I learned in a boys schools.The problem is that many of those who have finished from those schools find it difficult to adapt in the outside society which is a mixed society.

  78. 78 Simone from Singapore
    December 3, 2008 at 19:16

    I went to an all-girl kindergarten and was in all-girl schools right up till my O Levels (i’m almost 40 now by the way).

    My exam results were always good, even after FINALLY being put into a co-ed environment.

    But what I really hated about the single-gender environment was that boys became something even more “mysterious” (I have no brothers) and as a teen, it made me soooooo curious about them.

    When I was finally in a co-ed environment, I had a hard time adjusting to socialising in a normal way with boys. I had no confidence speaking up in class (for fear of appearing foolish in front of the boys), and the first few months of junior college was hell.

    I think I’ll be sending my daughter to a co-ed school so that she gets to experience that girls AND boys are equally capable of achieving academic success.

  79. 79 viola
    December 3, 2008 at 19:17

    Isn’t it largely a question of where the money goes? Suppose everyone opts for it, then when it comes time to allocate resources (money) for sex-segregated schools, would each sex receive equal funding?

    In the U.S., the example of “separate but equal” for blacks and whites in the South was repudiated by the supreme court because the application of the principle produced well-funded schools and poorly funded schools. Guess which side got the short end of the stick.

    Would there be a danger of that happening in sex-segregated schools? Or have societies advanced to such a degree that they would never dream of such a thing? What about when times are tough and you are asked to choose which schools get supported? In many parts of the world it is common for the boys to be sent to school but not the girls. Poor funding for girls’ only schools would be much the same.

  80. 80 vijay
    December 3, 2008 at 19:17

    My cousins in Finland found strange it that myself and my siblings attended single sex schools,because their society and culture is more equal and there is less difference between men and women therefore less need for seperate education.

  81. 81 Kathryn
    December 3, 2008 at 19:20

    Until Western culture is truly equal in terms of how it treats males and females, I think all-female education can be a wonderful counterbalance. I attended 4 years of all-female high school and went on to 4 years at an all-female college. I thought it was very successful. I am working towards a Ph.D. at the moment.

    I do feel that criticism of all-female education tends to come from men who do not like the type of woman that emerges from this type of education. They tend to violate the norms of “femininity” by questioning the gender inequalities of our culture. This does not tend to make people, men or women, comfortable.

    The “confidence” that one respondent notes about women interacting with men is the “confidence” that comes from learning how to flirt and to interact on a subliminally sexual level. I think single-sex education helps to seperate learning from sexuality. There is plenty of time to learn this other side of oneself. A learning environment should not necessarily be this place.

  82. 82 anna
    December 3, 2008 at 19:20

    as a girl I’ve always liked to hang out with boys more than with girls.
    even now at 19 years of age I’m trying to pursuit a career as a pilot which means that a mix with boys…. a lot!
    being educated with only girls might allow your results to be higher but I believe that it will also only push you to pursuit a more “girly” career because at such a young and crucial age you will primarily come in touch with women and their passions.
    At this day and age I believe that we need a balanced schools rather than seperated ones.

  83. 83 BRC
    December 3, 2008 at 19:20

    I went to an all boys high school, a mixed high school, and completed my A-levels in a school which included girls only in the 6th form.

    It appeared to me that all the environments provided learning opportunities and it would be difficult to pin differing results to the exclusion of one sex.

    The only really problematic situation was in the school where the girls were only in the 6th form, because they were so far outnumbered by the boys that in the regular ‘competition of the sexes’ (in everyday social situations), the girls were at a severe disadvantage, and were at times poorly treated by the boys as inferior. However, it was an excellent school, with many girls and boys going off to Oxford and Cambridge.

    My favorite school of the three was the boys only school (Appleby College in Canada, which has since gone co-ed). My second choice – a very close second – was the school with the highest academic standards, Epsom College in England. This school only had girls (in a numerical minority) in the 6th form, which I would say was the school with the most difficulty in boy-girl relations.

    I would send my children to any of these school types. I would suspect that the best type of school would depend on the individual personality type of the student themselves.Also, I would suspect that the academic standards of the school are not decisively dependent on the inclusion or exclusion of a sexual type, any more than the aptitude of a single student is likely to be predicated by their biological sex. I would be in favour of the existence of both types of schools, so that individual parents and students can choose their preferred learning environment.

  84. 84 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 19:21

    @ Lillian

    There’s a big difference between grade school single sex schools and college. Also, what about people in rural areas? You want to Barnard College, which is PART of Columbia University. There are plenty of men at Columbia, and it’s in Manhattan, which has tons of other schools, like NYU, Hunter College, etc.. That’s very diffirent than some rural area where you would have hundreds of people, not millions around you, like you had in Morningside Heights.

  85. December 3, 2008 at 19:21

    So much for the term “High school sweethearts” 😉 lol

  86. 86 Mallary
    December 3, 2008 at 19:23

    I went to an all girls’ school for high school and i liked it, but I don’t think it’s that boys and girls learn differently, I think people learn differently some same sex schools may be good for one person, but not necessarily for another.

  87. 87 Anthony
    December 3, 2008 at 19:23

    So should we have black schools, and white schools, and hispanic schools if the kids learn better that way? In the ghetto, one of the biggest problems are between races, so should we segregate because of this? Maybe we should have a fat school and thin school so fat kids don’t get teased!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  88. 88 Jonathan
    December 3, 2008 at 19:25

    In view of Anthony’s comment, I amrevising my opinion. Both academic and social factors clearly make sex segregation beneficial, and I hope it is immediately and widely implemented.

  89. 89 Nikki
    December 3, 2008 at 19:26

    It seems as though single sex education would provide a safe and liberating environment for women who are forced into patriarchal environments in every other facet of their lives. For those of you who have been to mixed schools as well as single sex schools, do you feel that single sex schools help foster stronger bonds between women and help you develop a stronger female identity?

  90. 90 Pangolin
    December 3, 2008 at 19:26

    I think the real issue is the factory model of education. Segregating classes of people with ever finer grades of distinction and then stamping that group with a pre-programmed educational package might work. The sense that it works is that it gives you a group that can fill out problems presented on a sheet of paper in a 50-minute period.

    I’ve never had a job yet where the problems came on a sheet of paper and could be solved in a fifty minute period by filling out bubble blanks. Usually I’ve had to get along with people with diverse ages and backgrounds while trying to manage problems with multiple variables.

    Mixed educating at least has the possibility of simulating real life problems. Single sex education allows focus on form filling. Choose your poison.

  91. 91 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 19:26

    I’m curious, and the show hasn’t addressed it, why are coed schools apparently so bad for females given that teachers are in large part, mostly female?

  92. 92 Tom D Ford
    December 3, 2008 at 19:28

    I suggest that a lot of the problems mentioned are installed in very early childhood development and long before school age.

    For example, kids raised in fear based religion families will have developed usually dysfunctional ways of coping with that installed fear and consequently dysfunctional ways of relating to others.

    Just consider how courageous new born babies are in exploring their world and in demanding attention to whatever their needs are; food, pee, poop, entertainment, sleep, or nurturing and ask yourself where went that wonderful courage?

    The courage was lost or beaten out of them long before school, IMNSHO, In My Not So Humble Opinion, and prevention of that loss ought to be considered in order to avoid these school gender problems.

    The kids are born alright, let’s all learn to keep them that way!

  93. 93 Tifney
    December 3, 2008 at 19:29

    I think the girls speaking on this show are living proof of the success of single sex schools. They are taking charge, confident, articulate and obviously passionate about this topic. It seem that much of the social hierarchy of high school is removed when you have single sex education. There are no boys to notice who is prettiest, who has the best clothes and who is the best at flirting. So the girls have an opportunity to judge each other and form relationships with each other based on less superficial things than in a mixed school. I think it sounds great. Wish we had the opportunity to provide that for our children.

  94. 94 Jamie King - Minneapolis, MN
    December 3, 2008 at 19:29

    Shouldn’t we be preparing our youth for the real world? Yes, students may learn better in an environment with only boys/girls. However, this does not represent the reality of the work force they will eventually be a part of. In many cases, especially the business workforce, women are treated differently than men. This may come as a shock for a woman educated in a setting where gender is not an issue.

  95. December 3, 2008 at 19:30

    I was educated at St. Xaviers Boys High School in Nasik, India. It was a Jesuit school. All my achievements in life have been primarily responsible because I went to that boys school. Otherwise it would have been a life of struggles. Because girls always have an effect on boys and will continue to do so.

    I have lived last 15 years all over the world from New Zealand to Norway and am currently living in St. Louis US for last 4 years. I was able to pursue my dreams of travelling around the world by motorcycle.

    I will be sending my son to a good boys school in St. Louis or in Nasik.

    There will enough time to interact with girls at University and suffer at grades & heart wise!!!

    Ravi from St. Louis

  96. 96 Phillip Kihumuro
    December 3, 2008 at 19:30

    I think its true, for I went to a single sex school for six years and I believe i made it because I was able to concentrate the more.

  97. December 3, 2008 at 19:30

    So to get this straight… Girls gain confidence being separated from boys… And they [expect to] retain this confidence once reality kicks in and they are re-integrated into a co-ed workplace and society?
    If they can’t be as confident around boys in an educational setting, what is that different from a work environment? Is this just about the development of confidence away from males?

  98. 98 Anthony
    December 3, 2008 at 19:31

    Their talking about how the girls say this, and the girls say that, well when I was in school, a lot of kids thought that smoking weed and ditching was good for them, but then again their in high school and don’t know. I remember some girls thought that if they had sex on top they couldn’t get pregnant. I guess high schoolers don’t always know whats best for them.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  99. 99 Elizabeth from Portland USA
    December 3, 2008 at 19:31

    My siblings and I were educated in single sex schools. We have successful carriers and marriages. My brother and I have PhD in science. In my case, single schools help with my confidence and love for science.

  100. 100 Gina
    December 3, 2008 at 19:31

    I think going to a mixed school gives you the change to work above destractions and in turn makes you a stronger person.

  101. December 3, 2008 at 19:32

    @ Anthony:

    Oh so very true!

  102. 102 Lisa in Salme Oregon, USA
    December 3, 2008 at 19:32

    I think this depends on what country your’e from, in a country where women walk behind men then it might be better to separate them.
    If the teachers can separate the way they teach girls and boys in the same room and multitask, that might work.
    I went to a public school with girls and boys and the girls were the worst! The rich ones were stuck up and separated themselves from the herd and various other types of behavior. It was easier to talk to the guys than the girls.
    If the parents of our world raise their children strong, confident and empathetic then I think it wouldn’t matter so much which kind of mix there was.

  103. 103 Tim D, P-town, oregon
    December 3, 2008 at 19:33

    This concept of single sex schools is elitist and would not work here in America.Too many children are disenfrachised from an early age,not having a choice as to some of the most fundamental aspects in life let alone having a choice in what school they can attend. This would only create more insanity in an already insane school system.
    I consider this topic a waste of valuable airtime on your part.

  104. 104 kate
    December 3, 2008 at 19:33

    I think it depends on the individual student. Nothing is right for everyone. I went to a traditionally women’s college that had only been mixed for 3 years when I arrived and the attitude was very female oriented still. My college encouraged all students to discourse and debate equally. That was when I realized just how much my more conventional high school did NOT encourage girls to debate or argue on an equal footing with the boys and how much I had accepted that as normal without even considering it.

  105. 105 Antony
    December 3, 2008 at 19:33

    I attended a school that in my second year changed from a same sex school to a mixed format. And today, I am in the process of watching my son choose betweensame sex and a mixed sex schools.

    I find the the entire question of socialization with the opposite sex as somewhat rediculous. When we became a mixed sex school, the boys that went ‘girl mad’ did so based on the example of their parents, not the simple presence of girls. Many of us saw changes, both good and bad.

    There is a clear and eloquent argument that the scholastic experience is improved in a same sex environment. One that is founded on the simple fact that girls and boys learn differently. As a parent of similarly aged children, a boy and a girl, I see those differences everyday. So a school that is able to focus in on one sex, has a clear advantage in how they present the subject matter.

    I have told my son to choose the school at which he is most comfortable. At the end of the day, the best educational format is the one whose culture blends most seamlessly with the personality of the student. If he is happy and comfortable, supported and challenged positively he will learn to his potential.

    But at the end of the day, I firmly beleive that a person’s ability to learn and socialize is largely the responsiblity of the parents and their ability to work in tandem with the schools.

  106. 106 Bert
    December 3, 2008 at 19:33

    I’ve heard this before. The message seems to be that girls learn better when boys are NOT around, but boys do better when they are in a coed environment.

    If this is true, then we seem to be at a logical impasse, eh?

    The caller from Florida was clearly concerned with her son’s learning disability, and preferred having him in coed environment. Just as her son is teased by other boys, girls in a coed environment also get teased by boys. That’s what the single-sex girls’ schools are arguing.

    Is it that this logical disconnect isn’t obvious? If all girls start attending single-sex schools, how will the boys benefit from a coed environment?

  107. 107 Ramesh
    December 3, 2008 at 19:34

    I’m 20yrs old boy. I’ve been in mixed school for my whole life and most of my good friends are girls but now as computer science student i’m having difficult because there arent any girls in my class althought it is coed school…

  108. 108 Lisa in Salme Oregon, USA
    December 3, 2008 at 19:35

    oops! SALEM Oregon actually… So much for American public education!!!!

  109. 109 Betsy in Washington DC
    December 3, 2008 at 19:36

    I think from the discussion it is safe to say it depends on the chile. Parents need to discern what will work best for the child based on their personaility traits.

  110. December 3, 2008 at 19:36

    I have been a teacher in mixed gender classrooms for ten years and the reality I have witnessed is that boys will dominate girls through verbal or ohysical teasing which is why many girls become retiring, refusing to participate in classes. This is especially true during the early teen years when sexual differences begin coming into play. I agree with the educator who said mixed sex classrooms benefit boys but it is invariably at the expense of girls and I think it’s time to stop putting girls in a position where they have to “prop up” boys to the girls’ detriment.

  111. 111 Erin from Ohio
    December 3, 2008 at 19:37

    I am 25 now but during high school definitely suffered from being nervous and socially anxious all the time. I can definitely see where being in an environment that had been only other girls and women would have eased my concerns and given me a better, more comfortable learning experience. I am envious of the girls who have had the opportunity for a single sex education.

  112. 112 Kalyan
    December 3, 2008 at 19:37

    I guess this more of a cultural thing to say Boys benefit more from mixed sex schools and girls are better off in single sex schools.

    Studies in India show, girls do better irrespective of which school they are in and the boys suffer more distraction trying to impress girls. Girls have been faring better in science education than boys for a long time.

    I guess it just depends on how we raise our kids.


  113. 113 Diana from Oregon
    December 3, 2008 at 19:37

    All my education was in a coed environment from elementary school through college. In retrospect, I think I would have developed higher self-esteem and confidence in a girls-only school. I have three brothers, so had plenty of experience dealing with the opposite gender. However, I was also sensitive to being teased by boys and would have preferred not having them in my classes, so I could have concentrated more. Had I been less concerned about what “the boys might think” I think I would have pursued my abilities in math, rather than try to be cute and fit in.

    Perhaps we need more pilot schools that offer both classroom environments. Six months mandatory trial in a same-sex learning environment, in various grades, would give the students the opportunity to determine each of their learning preferences. Choice is important, as not all individuals learn the same way.

  114. 114 Alia (Ventura, CA, USA)
    December 3, 2008 at 19:38

    What I’m wondering is if you think separating girls and boys reduces or perpetuates the sexism that might be making girls in mixed schools less confident. It seems to me that separating the sexes would be more likely to accentuate differences between the sexes and ultimately work against gender equality in other parts of society.

  115. 115 Valerie E Ponder
    December 3, 2008 at 19:38

    Single sex schools are more beneficial to girls in the US. You are able to focus on your studies and grow academically. I found that my friend (girls) who attended US public schools seemed to be less academically prepared or tended to dumb themselves down to appeal to males.

    Be aware, I went to a all girl catholic highschool in the 80’s and things may have changed a bit, but as a hiring manager, I recall many female professionals telling of their hardships of dealing with males at the university level and the workplace who did not respect their intelligence or opinion.

    I experienced and continue to experience the same behaviors as most males are threaten by an confident, intelligent woman. Look at the Democratic primaries in the US and all of the negative press Hilliary Clinton got based on her strong will and personality.

  116. 116 Peggy
    December 3, 2008 at 19:38

    I agree that it seems too much emphasis is being put on the relationship with boys, which in my opinion only emphasizes the need for a single location that women can express themselves without the interference of men.

    Not only have studies shown that girls and boys learn differently but studies have shown that teachers respond to girls and boys differently in a classroom setting.

  117. 117 anna
    December 3, 2008 at 19:40

    and another thing… I keep on hearing everybody talking about how they can interact with boys in the weekend. but what if you don’t have brothers? and what if you also play a seperated sport (as most sports are). where precisely will you meet/ interact with boys? won’t it make you socially awkward towards boys?

  118. 118 Zara Shaw
    December 3, 2008 at 19:41

    What an awfully narrow view of girls!

    ‘I couldn’t concerntrate because I was touching up my make up.’

    And the solution to this gender stereotyping is not to address the problem but to remove girls from boys?
    Also, the swooping generalisations about girls are extreme. As a pupil who attended a state mixed school who is now a teacher, I think that girls and boys learn better from each other in a controlled environment rather then only interacting socially. Friends of mine from both sexes that have attended single sex schools had stereotypes of the opposite sex and were very competitive with members of their own sex. Obviously this is not true of all children that attend single sex schools but this is just my experience.

  119. 119 Bart in SF CA
    December 3, 2008 at 19:42

    I’m a 57 yr old gay man. Growing up in the US, I went to mixed schools. I had no conception of any form of sexuality, but I was most comfortable being friends with girls. Not the case now, but had there been no girls, I would have been a very lonely little boy.

  120. 120 heather portland, oregon
    December 3, 2008 at 19:42

    until ALL children have the opportunity to go to shcool, this topic is irrelevant. This is a waste of valuable air time.

  121. 121 RMRSGIRL
    December 3, 2008 at 19:43

    Maybe someone could address the differences in Female Single-Sex Schools themselves, such as how a single-sex school creates a different type of young woman in the U.S. (ie the reputation for creating rebellious women) as opposed European countries; and also that most single-sex schools in the U.S. are religion-based.

  122. 122 Giselle in Netherlands
    December 3, 2008 at 19:44

    I think there are great benefits for female learners in a single-sex environment. I think that all-boys schools, however, can foster a homophobic locker room culture where some graduates enter university with distorted perceptions of women and gender roles.

  123. 123 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 19:47

    The girls are missing the point. It’s not that you can’t be around boys. It’s that you can’t learn around them. Unless you never plan to go to coed university, or work in a coed job, you’re eventually going to have to do intellectual things around guys, and if you’re so insecure that you currently will not do that, and have to segregate yourself in an all girls school so you can feel confident, by not learning around boys, you’re going to have problems when you’re an adult. You’re just delaying the inevitable, unless you have no plan to study or ever work, you’re only delaying your problems.

  124. 124 Derek Felix
    December 3, 2008 at 19:47

    While it may be true that boys and girls learn in different ways, this would of course be one of the very many manifestations of the various intrinsic differences between the sexes. Males are generally more logical while females, more emotional. These differences are almost diametrically opposed which is not to say that either is “right” or “wrong”.

    Same sex education when properly administered should capitalize on these differences and so create a more effctive cognitive learning environment. This should enhance the number of students that will achieve any particular standard or level of education. But to what degree?

    In my opinion, the (by far) largely informal social education that both sexes receive by the controlled interaction with each other is of much more value than boosting the statistical performance of an educational instition by a few percentage points. I believe that the education system would serve acountry better by turning out well rounded individuals who can quickly take their place in, and begin to contribute positively to society.

  125. 125 Giselle in Netherlands
    December 3, 2008 at 19:47

    The benefits of single-sex education for girls go well beyond confidence-building. Certainly there’s a huge economic benefit for the elevated number of graduates who go on to high-paying careers in male-dominated industries such as science, engineering and technology.

  126. 126 Lillian Mongeau
    December 3, 2008 at 19:48

    @ Brett
    Yes. Gaining confidence in yourself when you’re growing up is different than displaying that confidence when you’re an adult. I’ve been to both types of schools and have friends from both and all of the women I know who went to all-women’s or all-girls’ schools are in the midst of quite successful careers.

    I think the real point is that single-sex education works very well for some and not as well for others. In the end it would be best that both options exist for all students, though I recognize that the practicality of this is pretty low at the moment.

  127. 127 Mathieu Letourneau
    December 3, 2008 at 19:51

    Hi i’m french, and in france in the public education boys and girls are together, because we must learn together the same things and understand the different behaviour of every pupils, to compare our propper point of view.

  128. 128 Elizabeth
    December 3, 2008 at 19:51

    As a product of same-sex secondary education, I believe that same-sex education offers girls a chance to be in charge of everything and to learn that gender does not need to be a limitation. I do think girls who are in same-sex schools are a little less socially sophisticated about interaction with boys (depending on how isolated they are), but this affect is temporary and not really that important.

    I think same-sex schools are a good option for some children and should continue to be available. Each child is unique and different and parents should choose based on individual choices.

  129. 129 Steve
    December 3, 2008 at 19:53

    Nice music. Hopefully you guys finish up the show.

  130. December 3, 2008 at 19:54

    I think its depend upon individuals rather than gender or society.

  131. 131 Vijay
    December 3, 2008 at 19:55

    Is cornwall a third world country the transmission has just stopped on shortwave?

    My cousins in India send their children to coed private schools,so their children will be more “normal”,social skills are more important to them than academics.

  132. 132 K. Blackburn
    December 3, 2008 at 19:56

    It is interesting that througout your programme about Truro High School for Girls we have yet to hear from a pupil with a local accent. This leads one to wonder if the schools excellent academic results have more to do with its admissions policies and the fact that it is a fee paying school rather than the fact that it is a single sex school.

  133. 133 Lourdes Sanchez
    December 3, 2008 at 19:56

    In order to have equality in the workplace and to have assertive women those women need to become aware of their talents and capabilties. These endeveours are more easiliy achieved without the stress of competing for attention and fighting systems, with stereotypes. Therefore the advantage of single sex education.

    As for the social issues. I attended an all girls school that was next to an all boys school. The library, and a very tall wall, was in between the two buildings. So we got to meet boys but because we were in different classes we never needed to concern ourselves about them in the classroom.

    Lourdes Sanchez

  134. 134 Betsy in Washington DC
    December 3, 2008 at 19:57

    What in the world was that Dennis guy on the phone from Kenya talking about??????

  135. December 3, 2008 at 19:58


    Confidence is a slow moving process and encompasses all aspects of a person’s psyche, physicality and emotional life. Girls who have been educated in an environment designed to nurture their confidence over time will be able to compete with men in the world because they won’t allow men to diminish them. When girls are educated in an environment where they are targets of male dominance psychologically, emotionally or physically, they begin to withdraw and question their own value as human beings. This is a slow, corrosive process that ultimately leads to a girl’s loss of self worth and identity which makes it easier for men to dominate women in society.

  136. December 3, 2008 at 19:59

    I was in a mixed public school setting, but my boyfriend whom I dated in university went to an all-boys school and played competitive sports and therefore had very little interaction with women until he came to university, and I believe this did present problems (confidence, managing relationships) for him, and that he would have benefited from an integrated school for at least a few of his high school years. This sounds like it is more of an issue for the men, and that women don’t find the social/dating aspect quite as challenging.

  137. December 3, 2008 at 20:03

    My mom is an English teacher in India with lot of experience in dealing with problems boys and girls have in a co-education schools. Problems like boys digging into girl’s bags, hiding their sanitary napkins and girls trying to impress guys by dressing inappropriately.

    Agitation made me mention my mom of having single sex schools, but my mom , a very practical thinker says, “if girls can’t handle this now how will they handle men who behave indecently in public buses or trains”. At the same time boy’s should get over shyness and be confident when talking to any girl.

    Girls and boys should go through this experience and be taught how to deal with certain situations by giving them good sex education.

    On the other hand, there are lot of things to learn from the opposite sex, let be your father, mother, sister, brother, friend. Nowdays students are encouraged to study as a group, involve in discussions. If one notices, girls and boys think differently. Boys may be very good at math and girls at biology. Girls can get accustomed to boy’s way of working with math and the viceversa.

    – Houston, Texas

  138. 138 Savane, Nairobi
    December 3, 2008 at 20:09


    Thanks for clearing that up!

  139. 139 maryla
    December 3, 2008 at 20:12

    confidence, confidence, confidence… the confidence we are hearing from these high school girls is the confidence of privilege, not the lack of boys. In the wealthy (developed world) most (not all) singe sex education is expensive private education and lets not blur the lines of privilege and gender.
    As someone who has done a lot of teaching in different contexts, at the basic level of classroom management, in mixed classrooms boys take up more “management” time because they tend to be louder, dominant and more likely to play the class clown and the girls (and some boys) tend to stay in the background.
    When it comes to gender interaction this largely depends on broader social and/or religious ideas or circumstance and the culture the school is based in- a poor inner city North English girl will interact with boys in the classroom in a very different way to a poor girl in rural India, Mexico, Kenya or Indonesia will if any of them are lucky enough to go to school at all.

  140. 140 jamily5
    December 3, 2008 at 20:17

    Something happened with the BBC.
    Well, a good point was made about funding.
    Why couldn’t girl/boy schools partner?
    I mean,
    “Washington Elementary,” for girls and
    “Washington elementary,” for boys.
    then, when desiring funding: It could be a collective “Washington elementary,” effort and split the funds.
    Souns simple to me, but bloggers will tell me “why” this couldn’t possibly happen.
    There are many ways that we should revise our educational system to make it more conducive to learning.
    This is just one way in a long long list.

  141. 141 selena in Canada
    December 3, 2008 at 20:20

    Just heard the building had to be evacuated because of a fire alarm.

    Hope everyone is alright.

  142. 142 Bert
    December 3, 2008 at 21:04

    Just out of curiosity, what males prefer stupid girls? Or said another way, why should girls think that they have to be stupid to appeal to guys?

    Or am I just that far out of touch with reality?

    I always went to coed schools. Dumb girls never appealed to me, and still don’t. Thank heavens my daughter didn’t grow up thinking she had to be stupid to appeal to the boys.

  143. 143 Janice
    December 3, 2008 at 21:18

    We were listening to the World Have your Say programme tonight (we live in France) about single sex education and suddenly it cut off about ten minutes before the end. We got a recorded message saying there were technical problems and then music. When service finally resumed (about twenty minutes later) the newsreader said there had been a fire alarm. Why would a fire alarm cut off a broadcast from Cornwall? There has been no further information. What happened? If this happens again where should I look on the internet for information? We were wondering if something bad had happened in England…..

  144. 144 Derek Felix
    December 3, 2008 at 21:38

    Hello, how long does your moderation process take on average? I posted a comment but it is still awaiting moderation.

    Thank you.
    (From Trinidad, West Indies)

  145. 145 nancy
    December 3, 2008 at 22:38

    BOY can I talk about this subject- I LIVED it!
    I attended co ed grammar school . Then I attended an all girl high school and an all girl private college. I can tell you that there is a DEFINATE academic loss to the girls when you segregate them. It is NEVER EQUAL to what the boys get.

    My all girl high school had little diversity in the curriculum. I wanted to take “shop” but could not. I wanted to be on the debate team that the boy’s high school had but it was not offered. Our math and science programs were inferior. Our sports programs were not equal in quality.

    Shortly after I graduated from the private catholic all girl college, it closed. It closed because there was no longer a need for a separate all girl college that could not compete with the co educational Universities that offered more.

    When there is only one sex in the classroom, the ideas, philosophy, and divergent opinions are not there.

    Girls and boys work together in business, share lives together, and interact in society. They need to develop skills along the way to handle this.

    Separate is never equal. I thought we settled this with the civil rights act.

  146. December 3, 2008 at 23:15

    Thank you for that line of reasoning. What would he do if he didn’t have the support of his female classmates. Also, why do we want to separate them? If nothing else intermingle them even more. I guess my main problem lies with people who seem to give off the impression that their child is better than mine and therefor mine should be segregated from theirs. What happened to equality and teaching our children about equality. Or better yet for those worried about boys so much, what about teaching will power and avoiding temptation!

  147. 147 Jered
    December 4, 2008 at 00:02

    If there is one thing that is apparent about education, it’s that everyone learns differently. There is no single “right” way to educate. Some will benefit more from a single sex school, others will do better in co-ed schools. Some need rigid structure, others need freedom to explore.

    What’s more important than any of these things is positive parental involvement. Children’s success in scholastic learning and dealing with the opposite sex has more to do with their parents than any school system.

  148. 148 Thomas Murray
    December 4, 2008 at 00:04


    I wanted to suggest a topic for an upcoming WHYS — and I realize this is the wrong portal for this, but the library Internet filter is sett too high to dive through the other one. So here goes…

    GM, Ford and Chrysler XOs are reappearing in Congress tomorrow with their plans to make the US auto industry all better again.

    But Detroit has been hit with a perfect sorm of retirement legacies, too competent Union negotiators, the money-crunch, panicked financial markets and Yo-Yo-ing oil prices. But there’s one more thing.

    Fuel efficient cars must be too light to pass Government mandated collision and roll-over tests. So Detroit has to grind out monster honkers that no way will sip over 40 miles per gallon. I’m a physicist, and I tell you that unless you invent a Mr. Fusion that can let the engine run on banana peals, there’s just no way.

    I drove a 1967 MG Midget since 1972 off-an-on for about 20 years until I repaired it so much I made it too dangerous to drive. (Its “metal memeory” remembered a fender bender I had about 4 years before and a wheel fell off — had to drill 18 cm through the old bolts and screw it back on with new ones; stopped driving it in 1989; unloaded with, with out-front caveats, in 2000; but I digress…)

    The Midget had no seatbelts (it had little metal rings for them somewhere), the dash was metal with pointy rocker switches and a steering wheel mounted on a large spearpoint, and at all times ones face was a mere 18 inches (er, 45 centimeters) from a shatter friendly non-safety glass windscreen. (I get it: hood = bonnet; trunk = boot; wrench = spanner; flashlight = torch — hey! I read the manual!) Thing is, the teeny little rascal go 36 miles to the gallon! (Don’t have time to work that out in metric.)

    Question: Would American drivers (and the American Governmet, and Detroit automakers) sacrefice a little safety for a fuel efficient car?

    And that Ford Ka in the new James Bond film — what’s the hold up on marketing that thing in the states?

    I’d considere it. Beats a motorcycle.

    Cheers, Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  149. 149 natalie sara
    December 5, 2008 at 16:49

    students learn better academically being separate from the other sex in singapore and the single sex schools here are mostly the better or more ‘elite’ ones. i personally have been in a single sex school for a decade of my life, 7 to 16 years of age, and there was minimum distractions which made us perform well. it didn’t mean we were cut off from the other gender as we met guys in church or tuition or activities outside school so there wasn’t a huge problem. but pre-tertiary education here is co-ed so the transition i had to junior college last year was a major ‘culture shock’ as i had to see guys in class the whole day, have physical education lessons with them and go out with them as cliques and a group of friends. though there was an upscale of distractions due to the really trivial gossiping on boy girl relationships and whatsoever, there should be a time when boys and girls do coexist with each other and accept the different attitudes or habits they possess. it makes it better to integrate into society with a co-ed school. probably i was too ‘protected’ and groomed in a single sex school for the reality of a ‘double gender’ world!

  150. 150 Gervy
    December 6, 2008 at 14:11

    everyone have to enjoy itself

  151. 151 DENNIS
    December 7, 2008 at 03:59

    @ Justin and the WHYS:
    Thanks for the correct information…

    I think that they should be taught separately
    for a certain time in the development and then
    taught in the SAME classroom….


  152. 152 ANIL TEWARI
    January 27, 2009 at 13:13

    I think school is a site for holistic development of one’s personality,therefore seggrigation will result the products as we see in most of the mislim countries around the world.

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