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【The Standard:Study in the UK】Mixed bags of goodies

Boarding 101


Single-sex schools may be able to deliver when it comes to the ultimate prize – exam results. But what about interaction between boys and girls and preparing children for adult life and the world of work?

Having pointed out some of the positive features of single-sex schools in my previous article, it is now important to extol the virtues of co-education.


I think back to how it was at my co- ed school, particularly in the classroom, where I quickly learned that, with an open mind, boys and girls can develop respect for the learning styles, opinions and perspectives on texts which the opposite sex exhibits.


Even if my experience taught me that girls are slightly more reluctant to put their hands up, I very much valued their contributions and perspectives because my male peers often came up with somewhat predictable interpretations on poems and texts, for instance.

Moreover, the importance of respecting the views of others is something which needs to be learned sooner rather than later.

Students may have trouble coping at university and at work if they have not benefited from the fostering of teamwork and mutual understanding; skills which are arguably developed more naturally in an environment which reflects conditions in real life.

Some might say that sexist attitudes are no longer as potent as what they may have been in the past.

I have spent most of my working time with women and I am convinced that my co-education completely dispelled any possible doubts I had about freely liaising and working with females without any barriers.

Being able to take stock of different ideas, approaches and a “female” way of thinking has helped me immeasurably in my life and in business.

I must also comment on the general atmosphere of the co-education school.

In general, it is less intense.

In the classroom, intelligent and witty discussion and debate between girls and boys makes for a pleasant, and productive, environment where children genuinely look forward to their lessons.

The classroom environment and atmosphere may be bland without this male-female dynamic to it, though this is not to say that the atmosphere in class in single-sex schools is completely tense and stale.

Overall, co-education has some compelling benefits.

It is important to stress that with rigid rules and excellent pastoral care frameworks, pupils should not be too afraid of feeling inhibited around members of the opposite sex.

Moreover, at mixed-sex schools, it is not as if boys and girls are together every second of the day. Boarding houses are often single-sex, while the nature of some sports lend themselves to the separation of boys and girls.


Samuel Chan

Source: The Standard 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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