When choosing the right school for your son, an important consideration is whether to choose single-sex or coeducation. There is no standard answer, as every child is unique, and families invariably have different values. However, the reality is that there are scientifically proven differences between boys and girls. So, why choose an all-boys school for your son and what are the benefits?
Research reveals that there are four major distinguishers between the male and female brain — the processing, chemistry, structure and activity. A study has found that scientists can distinguish between men and women to 93.3% accuracy simply by looking at and mapping the brain. As education is all about shaping minds, these unique differences have a significant impact in the classroom.
You will likely have many questions, such as, wouldn’t coeducation ensure equal educational opportunity? Do single-sex schools reinforce gender stereotypes? Isn’t the interaction between boys and girls in the classroom beneficial? These are all valid questions and should be considered carefully when comparing the two schools of thought.
Here are some advantages to think about when considering an all-boys school for your son.
Tailored learning to boys’ education needs
By having only boys in the classroom teachers can cater to the specific learning style of boys and their unique brains. Boys tend to prefer learning through experience; therefore, teachers can keep that at the forefront of their lesson planning. Boys can also have tunnel vision when they are completing a task, because of the unique way a male’s brain processes information. This translates to the ability to excel in highly task-focused projects.
It also means that the curriculum can be tailored to boys. Teachers can choose books that can introduce the ‘coming-of-age’ discussion and allow for an open dialogue without females being present.
Creating a positive environment for boys’ development
Without the presence of girls, boys are unencumbered by the desire to impress the opposite sex, this is especially important during the adolescent years. This doesn’t mean that they are completely isolated from girls, as all-boys schools frequently partner with local all-girls schools for both learning activities and social events. However, in day-to-day school life and within the classroom, the absence of females can be immensely beneficial for boys.
Principals have found that in coeducational schools, boys tend to adopt a 'masculine' attitude as a result of the female presence. However, in an all-boys environment they grow to become more sensitive men, and are free to express themselves and follow their interests and talents, particularly within the creative arts. Boys schools consequently have extensive co-curricular options to allow for the pursuit of a broad range of endeavours.
Understanding the behavioural tendencies of boys
Outside of academic pursuits, boys’ health and wellbeing needs can be uniquely met at boys’ schools. Single-sex schools have also been found to have lower chances of behavioural issues as the unique needs of boys can be addressed. The need for physical activity, competition and risk-taking can all be taken into account.
Boys tend to thrive in a strict and structured environment. By pushing boys not only to their academic potential but also on the sports field or the stage, your son will flourish and develop vital life skills such as leadership, communication and teamwork.
Recognising what it takes to build good men
Above all else, an all-boys education can help develop good men. While academic excellence is important, developing character traits of good men is critical to a school’s mission. Through alumni networks, single-sex schools can link students with positive role models who have shared similar experiences and can help guide boys into adulthood.
Unfortunately, male suicide in Australia is rising, with statistics showing 75% of people who died by suicide were males in 2017. Male students remain underrepresented in Australian universities with studies finding males accounted for just 42% of all domestic students. Wellbeing programs and a focus on pastoral care enable all-boys schools to assist in the growth of well-rounded men.
Building belonging through camaraderie
There is a special bond formed between students in all-boys schools. These bonds extend beyond the academic years and into the workforce through active and firmly established alumni networks. Belonging is such a crucial factor in life. According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, belonging forms the basis of self-esteem.
The International Boys' Schools Coalition found that the relationships formed not only between peers but between teachers and students produce high standards in students.
Of course, gender alone does not guarantee a school is right for your son or your family. However, weighing up these advantages against the alternatives will help you decide what is right for you.
At Christ Church Grammar School, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to building good men. Download our Prospectus to find out more about school life for our boys.