The differences between a single-sex and coeducation environment

Choosing between a single-sex and coeducation school environment can be a difficult decision to make. Each option offers its own unique set of advantages and strengths. Boys can flourish in either of these contexts, though one might suit their learning style and personality better. Here are some of the differences between a single-sex and coeducation environment.

Single-sex schools maximise boys’ characteristics

In single-sex schools, teaching staff can hone in on what makes a boy, a boy. The International Boys’ Schools Coalition supports that single-sex schools recognise that boys are physically active, competitive, and natural risk-takers. Therefore, these characteristics should be channelled into their learning.

Educators in single-sex schools tap into boys’ interests and utilise academics, arts, music and athletics to keep them engaged in learning. They teach boys in ways that help them learn best and strategically address their specific learning styles. For example, boys prefer to work more co-operatively, so teachers will often put boys in teams or groups for project-based assignments. Because the teachers understand the rhythm of a boys’ classroom, they can schedule physical activity into class times and extended breaks into the school day.

Coeducational schools offer more opportunities to develop social skills

A coeducational environment offers a sense of diversity that benefits boys and girls. It puts boys in situations where they will learn to socialise with girls and solve problems together. As well as teaching them to be inclusive and celebrate differences, a coeducational environment prepares children for life beyond school in a coeducational society.

Research has found that when students are not given the appropriate opportunities to work together, they struggle to develop the skills needed to interact with each other. By being in a diverse setting, certain behaviours can be encouraged or discouraged, allowing boys to develop the necessary social skills to thrive in society.

Single-sex schools help students discover and explore their full potential

Without having to deal with social pressures in a coeducational environment, students in single-sex schools have the opportunity to explore their range of gifts and talents. In all-boys schools, boys are freed from societal expectations and can explore the stereotypically female-led pathways such as dance, drama and visual arts.

Michael Thompson has found that boys’ schools are essential in developing “emotionally, literate boys”, who can respond empathetically and compassionately to others. These schools provide the necessary guidance to develop honourable, young men and to deal with the different expectations placed on them.

There are many differences between a single-sex and coeducational environment and these differences should be reviewed in the context of what would best suit your son and prepare him for his future. To learn more about our learning environment at Christ Church Grammar School, download our Pedagogy handbook to discover the art and science of our teaching.

Download Pedagogy handbook