Single Gender Education - Empowering Boys to Thrive
Steve Hadaway, Assistant Dean of Academics
“Boys and Girls Learn Differently.” Not only is this a statement of fact, but it is also the title of an invaluable book by Dr. Michael Gurian*. Dr. Gurian is one of the foremost authorities on gender-specific learning and a leader in researching and teaching boys' and men's social and emotional needs.
Males and females learn differently, which is a generalization but not a stereotype. We all have a learning style that fits somewhere on a spectrum; however, boys tend to be on one side of the scale, with girls generally on the other side. In a coed classroom, teachers are challenged to present material in a way that attempts to address both learning styles, which can result in neither learning style being addressed optimally. A single-gender classroom setting generates many advantages, including these:
Material can be presented in a way that focuses on the learning style of boys.
The classroom environment can be crafted to appeal more to boys. This creates an encouraging and comfortable learning situation.
Boys are more likely to engage in class discussions and to ask questions in a single-gender setting. The fear of embarrassment in front of girls is removed.
Boys can more openly support and encourage each other. They can express and develop empathy and help others.
The distraction of girls is removed at a time in a boy’s development when hormones are in overdrive.
Boys are not served well in educational settings if these differences and advantages are not considered. However, there are clear, statistically supported gains when they are. One school in Tampa, Florida, reported the following gains after converting from coed to all-male:
18% gain in 6th grade students passing the state standardized test for Reading.
14% gain in 6th grade students passing the state standardized test for Math.
11% gain in 7th grade students passing the state standardized test for Math.
7% gain in 8th grade students passing the state standardized test for Reading.
3% gain in 8th grade students passing the state standardized test for Math.
There are also benefits outside the classroom, as in the military model of leadership development used at Riverside Prep, which allows young men to assume leadership roles, advance in rank, and achieve awards and recognition, all of which are vital to developing a young man.
As an all-male school using the military structure, Riverside Prep provides a setting that will truly Empower Boys to Thrive.
*Visit www.gurianinstitute.com and read: “Boys and Girls Learn Differently,” “The Wonder of Girls,” “The Wonder of Boys,” and “Saving Our Sons.”