Single gender classrooms

February 9th, 2009  |  Published in gender

This article came across my feed reader.  From the article: “The practice of separating girls from boys in the classroom was the norm decades ago. Now, it seems to be something of a new trend.”

A few thoughts … I read a book on gender and computing that said that while girls do better in single gender classrooms (I think this was specifically wrt math/science) boys do better in mixed-gender classrooms.  This article mentions that in one school, classes are multi-gender for things like gym and computer lab time which seems strange since the aforemetioned book identifies computer education as one of the areas where learning is most gender-mediated (and gym just intuitively seems terribly gender-mediated).  Finally, I would really like to know if anyone has tried to have single gender sessions a few times a week, then merging for classes.  Would this allow different learning strategies to emerge and solidify in the gender-specific classes and then, when shared in the mixed-gender session, students of all genders could pick the strategy that worked best.  Would this not work because students would judge strategies as “girl” or “boy” strategies rather than evaluatng them on their effectiveness or creativity?  Would the confidence in the strategies that might be built from the single-gender classrooms allow people to advocate for their approaches in a way that would convince their classmates despite gender prejudice?