When it comes to choosing the best learning environment for your child, a single-gender school may be tempting. Schools that only admit a single gender assert that students in those environments express themselves more freely without the pressure or influence of the opposite sex. However, co-educational schools maintain that the co-ed experience is the natural choice, one that reflects real-world communities and workplaces in which students will live and work … that the co-ed experience better prepares them to interact with a diverse mix of people.
Findings published by the American Psychological Association show that single-gender education does not teach girls and boys any better than co-ed schools. The analysis, published in 2014, included nearly 200 studies and approximately 1.6 million students globally. The National Science Foundation funded the analysis, which included studies of K-12 schools spanning six decades. Studies show that a co-educational experience better prepares students to interact with a diverse mix of people. Children growing up in collaborative co-educational settings gain confidence in who they are.
Rather than waiting to learn how to interact with peers later on in life, they instead find themselves prepared to communicate and actively participate in any community they join. That’s an especially important point, given today’s increasingly global workforce. Inclusive schools create environments of understanding, mutual respect, varying perspectives, and equal leadership opportunities among genders, elements that are valued in most workplaces. There is also a mountain of research in social psychology showing that segregation by gender feeds stereotypes. Every child is different, with a unique learning style.
Contrary what the single-sex schools might say, gender does not pre-define how a child will learn or what he or she will find interesting. The true benefit of a co-ed school such as Reddam House Umhlanga, is that we focus on the individual child, working to channel his or her own interests and support unique learning styles. As boys and girls learn to accept each other as equal partners in school and in life, we believe that co-educational schools are best equipped to produce confident, socially well-adjusted young adults.