Recently I discovered that there was a school in North Branch, MN that decided to choose a new form of learning for their student. One class was for girls and the other was for boys. Now this may seem weird, given that it was a public school. However, two teachers thought that the learning experience would be beneficial for the classes to be single – gender classrooms to enhance the learning environment.
I found this story very interest because I have only heard of schools that were either all girl’s or all boy’s school. I found it strange to know that there was a public school that incorporated a program just for single – gender classrooms. It was the parents’ choice if they wanted their child to participate within the single – gender course or not. The program was used to help students “find their individual voices” as the news story put it. There are currently twenty-nine states, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York, Kentucky, Tennessee and others who have adopted to this form of learning. There was a research study on “The Effects of Single-Sex Classrooms on Classroom Environment, Self-Esteem, and Standardized Test Scores” that explained the importance of this form of teaching and the benefits that students can possibly gain from that experience. It was found that, “Supporters of single-sex education claim that when removed from the social pressures and sexual biases inherent in mixed-sex environments, especially during the middle-school years, many students demonstrate more attention to academics, fewer sexually stereotyped behaviors, and higher achievement than their coeducational peers.”
Since 2001, when President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, it was put in place to clear up any concerns in regards Title IX. The law was giving permission for single – sex classrooms for public schools as long as the academic environment was equal among students. However I don’t think it is equal. When dividing these students into single – sex classrooms room. I had second thoughts about the idea of single – sex classrooms. I understood benefits of single – sex classrooms but what about their interaction with those that are not like them. As you can see in the video, the girl’s teacher was female and within the boys classroom the teacher is male. This story made me think of Julia T. Woods concept of feminine and masculine speech communities.
Within feminine speech communities the conversation consist of sharing personal experiences and learning about others. The language is more about connecting, supporting and understanding those around you. I think of it as building a connection with people through emotional support. You get the opportunity to understand others situation and/or feelings. Feminine speech communities are more about the relationships rather than the message. One of the young girls in the class said, “You don’t need to be embarrassed when you do something wrong. Because all of the girls are your friends.” There was that sense of
comfort-ability and support she gain from the girls around her. It seemed that it made her learning experience better.
Compared to masculine speech communities, the conversation exhibits a sense of control and concrete goals. Masculine speech is used to accomplish objectives. It is the use of ideas and a sense of control or authority to gather information or talk amongst people to seem as if one is of a higher status. The male teacher is a prime example of one who exhibits masculine speech. He incorporated things that they boys may be interested in like fishing, sports, or anything that challenges there mind that allows them to engage physically rather than mentally. The boys are reaching goals together within the learning environment.
However, I am convinced that this form of learning is beneficial for both boys and girls within the classroom. It may seem as though the students may suffer from the none engagement portion among one another. But just as the reporter said, the students“find their individual voices.” I figured I rather the students grow to find there own voices at young ages, so that when they out out into the world. The don’t have to worry to much about not having a support system or learning how to gain control. They learned those lessons at an earlier age.