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Issues and Questions for Educators to Consider Before Switching to Single-Sex Classrooms as an Option for your School

  • What message does gender separation send to the students?
  • Can “separate” classes be equal?
  • Do you want students to consider that exclusion and diversity are not valued?
  • Can funding that would be used to support single-sex education be used to support learning and education for all students?
  • How would children be assured of having options of leaving single-sex classes?
  • How challenging will it be to schedule classes that include both single-sex and mixed-sex, different levels of achievement, and needs of individual children?
  • What are the expenses? Is this viable in the current funding and economic climate? 
  • How will the community react?

For Teachers: Gender Separation versus Gender Mixing Teaching Strategies Quiz

How often do you use the following strategies?

Never

Once or twice a school year

Once or twice a month

Once or twice a week

At least once a day

A.   I say, “Good morning boys and girls” or “Good morning ladies and gentlemen.”

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2

3

4

5

B.    I call students “boys” and “girls.”

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3

4

5

C.    I refer to my students as “ladies” and “gentlemen.”

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3

4

5

D.    I line children up as boy-girl-boy-girl.

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5

E.     I encourage boys in my class to hold the door open for girls.

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5

F.     I encourage boys and girls to play together at recess.

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5

G.    I encourage boys to play with other boys and girls to play with other girls at recess.

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5

H.    I assign children to single-sex work groups (for example, I have all-girl and all-boy groups).

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5

I.      I assign kids to same-sex work pairs (two boys or two girls).

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5

J.     I assign kids to mixed-sex work pairs (one boy and one girl).

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5

K.     I set up learning competitions between the boys and girls in my class (for example, boys and girls compete in math games).

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L.     When I’m assigning seats, I try to evenly distribute boys and girls around the room.

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5

M.    When I’m assigning seats, I try to group boys together and group girls together.

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5

AppleScoring

Gender Separation:

  1. Sum the scores for items A, B, C, D, E, H, I, and M.
  2. Divide the total score by 8.

Gender Mixing:

  1. Sum the scores for items F, G, J, K, and L.
  2. Divide the total score by 5.

Compare your gender separation score to your gender mixing score. The higher of the two scores indicates whether boys and girls are primarily kept apart in your classroom (gender separation) or whether boys and girls are prompted to interact together (gender mixing). We recommend that teachers aim to increase the gender mixing in their classrooms and decrease the gender separation. To encourage more gender mixing, try to bring boys and girls together in structured situations, such as group work, circle time, story time, and science experiments.

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