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co-ed schools

 
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Recently came across a topic comparing co-ed schools vs single-sex schools.
My experience have been with a co-ed school, and it provides an environment where one interacts with the opposite sex, which you usually do or will have to do later on in the outside world.
So what's the deal about single sex schooling, does it provide any special advantages compared to co-ed?
 
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Assuming that "co-ed" means a mixed sex school (I've never heard the term "co-ed" before), then I agree that it seems better then single sex schools. Its a bit odd to put someone into an environment where they have very little contact with the opposite sex, and then suddenly throw them out into the real world at the end of it when they'll have a lot of contact with the opposite sex.

Despite what it seems trendy to say, men and women are different and people need to learn how to communicate with both. If someone goes to an all-boys school, how are they ever going to learn not to say the word "fat" within five miles of a woman?
 
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Leaving oldfashioned notions of prudishness aside, I seem to recall that there were studies indicating that girls learn better/faster (forgot the details) when there were no boys around. One of the reasons was that boys tend to dominate the classroom discussion, particularly in the sciences. This was purely about academics, not socialization. Of course, there are also studies indicating the opposite (although fewer, I believe), so who knows.
 
Roger Nelson
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Yes, there are some research that implies students tends to show improved performance in academics if its a single sex school.
Its tough to buy this idea that how well you do in studies is determined by the sex of your colleagues :-)
I have observed that some of the single sex schools are usually supported and maintained by religously funded organization. Probably the idea of keeping the opposite sex at a safe distance by priests trickles down over here.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Roger Nelson:
Yes, there are some research that implies students tends to show improved performance in academics if its a single sex school.


Even if this was true, academic performance is not the only thing which schooling provides for students. Going to school is about making kids ready to enter the adult world, and while learning academic stuff is vital, so is building up social skills. Schools which only cater for one sex, could lead students to miss out on learning some important social skills.

The same could apply to schools which focus on other groups in society - a school for just one religion, or just one wealth grouping, or just one nationality could also give their students an incomplete set of social skills, leaving them unable to deal with people from other groups. Given the problems which commonly crop up in society due to people not understanding each other's religion, social grouping, nationality and so on, this is not a good thing.
 
Roger Nelson
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:

The same could apply to schools which focus on other groups in society - a school for just one religion, or just one wealth grouping, or just one nationality could also give their students an incomplete set of social skills, leaving them unable to deal with people from other groups. Given the problems which commonly crop up in society due to people not understanding each other's religion, social grouping, nationality and so on, this is not a good thing.



Probably such type of schools considers sexual pressure a deterrent to the main goal of the institution i.e. academics.
Once can find similar male grouping in army, where its finally male's with whom majority of them interact most of the time throughout their career, but may find it a bit different when they leave the army.
It similarly applies to kids who study in rich schools, who may then rarely
interact with the poor. But I guess one would not like to trade quality education for having a class with students from different groups.
 
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Schools don't formally teach socialization -- they just sort of let it happen. This suggests to me that one could learn socialization just as well outside of school.

So one might as well choose the school which maximizes educational achievement (i.e., single-sex), and make use of less expensive venues to learn socialization.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Roger Nelson:
It similarly applies to kids who study in rich schools, who may then rarely
interact with the poor. But I guess one would not like to trade quality education for having a class with students from different groups.



Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Schools don't formally teach socialization -- they just sort of let it happen. This suggests to me that one could learn socialization just as well outside of school.

So one might as well choose the school which maximizes educational achievement (i.e., single-sex), and make use of less expensive venues to learn socialization.



I see what you're getting at - that school should be about education and then the rest can come somewhere else. While this a nice idea, it may be hard for some people. For some kids, the majority of their waking hours are spent in school, and its probably here (whether or not the parents want it to be) that they form their ideas about social interaction. After school clubs and activities will help, but they won't stop school being a massive influence on a child's social ability.

Maybe it would be a good idea if schools helped teach some social skills, but I'm not sure how they could do this.... but then again I'm not sure how anyone could teach it.
 
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton: I see what you're getting at - that school should be about education and then the rest can come somewhere else. While this a nice idea, it may be hard for some people. For some kids, the majority of their waking hours are spent in school, and its probably here (whether or not the parents want it to be) that they form their ideas about social interaction. After school clubs and activities will help, but they won't stop school being a massive influence on a child's social ability.

In America the problem is that school children spend far too much time socializing and not nearly enough time studying. (That's why most American high school students cannot find Europe on the globe. It's not a disregard for Europe, per se. They cannot find Maine or California, either. But foreign high-schoolers should not feel superior for all that -- American high school students get more dates.)

In the worst American schools, the socialization they experience is toxic (e.g. peer pressure to take up dangerous vices and _not_ to study.)


Dave Lenton: Maybe it would be a good idea if schools helped teach some social skills, but I'm not sure how they could do this.... but then again I'm not sure how anyone could teach it.

Having more than a few Asperger traits, I would have greatly benefitted from explicit instruction in social skills -- but what I needed would have been a waste of time for normal kids. I can identify with comedian Emo Philips' rant about women:

"Don't tell me about women; I know all about women. I learned about women the _hard_ way (long pause) -- from books."


Socialization can be taught the same way a junior anthropologist is prepared for fieldwork living among an exotic paleolithic tribe half a world a way. But this sort of training is very expensive; the supply of capable teachers very limited.

By analogy, it is pretty easy to train people to teach marketing; obtaining good teachers of _salesmanship_ is much harder. They do exist, but most corporations find it more cost-efficient just to sort out the salemen with enough natural aptitude to learn by trial and error.

Likewise, if you want your kids to learn to socialize with kids other than those they meet in school, just enroll them an activity that mixes them together. And if this has to wait until adulthood, they won't be anymore disadvantaged than, say, Indian programmers learning to live and work among Americans.
[ December 06, 2005: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
In America the problem is that school children spend far too much time socializing and not nearly enough time studying.
....
But this sort of training is very expensive; the supply of capable teachers very limited.
.....
Likewise, if you want your kids to learn to socialize with kids other than those they meet in school, just enroll them an activity that mixes them together.

I agree that its a bit tricky to teach someone social skills, especially in some kind of structured format. Perhaps it doesn't need to be a simplistic how-to-communicate type lesson, but rather it could be encouraged through the normal lessons which the kids do. By having lessons involving the children doing group work/activities, they will start to pick up skills in co-ordinating, team work, communication and so on. Also, as its happening within the learning environment it can be monitored for bad behaviour etc.

One example which I think was quite good when I was at school was a scheme called Young Enterprise. The idea was that the children (well, almost adults, we did it at 17) get into groups and form a small company. They have to design and build a product and then sell them. We did it by each contributing a small amount of money, buying some MDF and then using the school work shops to make picture frames. We sold them at a local market and made a profit.

It was quite a good exercise - we had to learn how to work together, and how to divide up tasks and organise ourselves. The fact that we achieved something at the end of it as well made it all the more rewarding. The only shame was that this was right at the end of school. It would have been good if there'd been this kind of group teamwork exercise every year.

Another advantage of encouraging schools to help with the social side of life is that it doesn't disadvantage kids whose parents are too poor to send them to after-school activities. Maybe its also good as more and more kids reject playing games outside with friends in favour of staying indoors and playing computer games.

I agree that after school activities can help a lot to help round out a child's education, and improve their social skills, but maybe this can also be done through schooling as well.
 
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I agree that its a bit tricky to teach someone social skills, especially in some kind of structured format. Perhaps it doesn't need to be a simplistic how-to-communicate type lesson, but rather it could be encouraged through the normal lessons which the kids do. By having lessons involving the children doing group work/activities, they will start to pick up skills in co-ordinating, team work, communication and so on. Also, as its happening within the learning environment it can be monitored for bad behaviour etc.

I think it's called "Little League [Baseball|Football|Basketball|Soccer]" and "[Boy|Girl] Scouts".

For coed socialization you can provide afterschool classes in ballroom dancing. (I remember on the TV show "Leave it to Beaver" how Theodore and Walley Cleaver were forced to participate. Then Walley, the older boy, actually started to like it, to the disgust of his younger brother.)

Another advantage of encouraging schools to help with the social side of life is that it doesn't disadvantage kids whose parents are too poor to send them to after-school activities.

My suggestions should be within the financial reach of all but the destitute. (Certainly, the cost shouldn't be a problem for anyone living under a Social Democratic goverment.)

In any case, school is not free -- someone must pay for it. And I suspect that a one-hour after-school activity costs a lot less than a one-hour in-school activity. (For one thing, you need neither state-certified teachers nor oversight by education-system bureaucrats.)
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
I think it's called "Little League [Baseball|Football|Basketball|Soccer]" and "[Boy|Girl] Scouts".

For coed socialization you can provide afterschool classes in ballroom dancing.


Don't get me wrong - I think after school activities are great, and do a lot to help educate and develop children, but sometimes they are not available for some people. If these kinds of benefits could be factored into school education, then it would improve that education.

My suggestions should be within the financial reach of all but the destitute. (Certainly, the cost shouldn't be a problem for anyone living under a Social Democratic goverment.)


It depends where you are. In this particular Social Democracy, most people could afford to send their kids to after school activities (as many are subsidised by the government), but the trouble comes in inner city areas.

In the part of London where I live, there are a great many people who couldn't afford to send their kids to any after-school clubs. Despite the rumours in non Social Democrat countries, the welfare state does not provide a large amount of money for poor people, its generally just enough to get them the basic necessities if they can't afford them... and after school activities are not currently classed as necessities.

Even if these parents could afford to send their children to these activities, there are so many kids and so few places to go that most of them end up just wondering around in the streets causing trouble. The government has realised this and is trying to implement policies to help it (some schools are being used to host after school clubs, reducing the need to rent out somewhere), but these are slow in coming.


In any case, school is not free -- someone must pay for it. And I suspect that a one-hour after-school activity costs a lot less than a one-hour in-school activity. (For one thing, you need neither state-certified teachers nor oversight by education-system bureaucrats.)

Depends what the activity involves. Like I said above, some (not enough) schools are now being used for after school activities. In these cases its often not teachers who are monitoring and running the events.

True, they do need to be paid for by someone, but in this case its the government instead of the parents. Ideally the parents would pay, but in some areas they can't afford to, and in these cases maybe its a good thing that the government pays - it benefits the rest of us to have the kids learning useful stuff instead of hanging around making trouble of themselves.

It would be nice if this kind of social training could be provided by the normal everyday schooling process, as this would reduce the need for after school activities. The problem then is how to alter the schooling process to do this, and to work out if this alteration causes some other important educational factor to be missed.
 
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Ideally the parents would pay, but in some areas they can't afford to, and in these cases maybe its a good thing that the government pays - it benefits the rest of us to have the kids learning useful stuff instead of hanging around making trouble of themselves.

Instead of making trouble, why can't they socialize while hanging around? That's what _most_ people do while off from work. They could help each other with their math homework.

Let's not confuse education with control of criminals.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Instead of making trouble, why can't they socialize while hanging around? That's what _most_ people do while off from work. They could help each other with their math homework.



The problem in the part of London where I live is that there isn't many places for teenagers to go to socialise. They're too young to go for a drink in a pub, there aren't enough youth club type things, they can't afford to go to the cinema, and most of the time the weather is too bad for sitting in a park. Instead they hang around shopping centres getting bored, and then eventually end up doing something stupid.

One of the reasons that the government are trying to keep schools open into the evenings is to give these teenagers somewhere to hang around and socialise, but not enough schools are doing it at the moment.... and besides, hanging around in school isn't cool so is hard to convince the kids to do it.

Let's not confuse education with control of criminals.

Yeah, that's a whole other thread.... (I do think there's a crossover)
 
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
The problem in the part of London where I live is that there isn't many places for teenagers to go to socialise. They're too young to go for a drink in a pub, there aren't enough youth club type things, they can't afford to go to the cinema, and most of the time the weather is too bad for sitting in a park. Instead they hang around shopping centres getting bored, and then eventually end up doing something stupid.

One of the reasons that the government are trying to keep schools open into the evenings is to give these teenagers somewhere to hang around and socialise, but not enough schools are doing it at the moment.... and besides, hanging around in school isn't cool so is hard to convince the kids to do it.

In that case, the obvious answer is CHURCH YOUTH GROUPS! Isn't there a vicar in your part of town?

 
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Well, I'll say this. I know some guys that went to an all-guys school, and they are much better at picking up women than I am. But, then again, it isn't difficult to be better than me.

Mark
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
In that case, the obvious answer is CHURCH YOUTH GROUPS! Isn't there a vicar in your part of town?

There are a few churches, but I don't think this is the answer. Near to where I live, most the churches are frequented by just one part of the community (mainly those whose parents are from Africa or the Caribbean), and it doesn't seem that people from other communities attend them.

Besides, church attendance is not a big part of life in the UK. The largest religion in the country only has a 4% attendance rate, and given that religious belief tends to be less among kids (here anyway) its unlikely that many would want to attend a church youth group.

Maybe different churches from different religions could group together and run a youth group between them. This could help with inter-community understanding and communication, but again would have trouble convincing people to attend. I guess it comes down to either a private organisation (expensive for the kids/their parents), the local government (higher tax), or volunteers (unlikely) to provide a youth group.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
Well, I'll say this. I know some guys that went to an all-guys school, and they are much better at picking up women than I am. But, then again, it isn't difficult to be better than me.

Mark



Hmmm, I wonder if they used any of these lines?
 
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