Girls Work Better in Single-Sex Schools

June 25, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. headmistress / ˈhɛdˈmɪs trɪs / (n.) – a woman who heads a school
Example: The headmistress called all the female students to a meeting.

2. coeducational / ˌkoʊ ɛdʒ ʊˈkeɪ ʃə nl / (adj.) – involving both male and female students
Example: Boys learn to be more courteous in coeducational schools.

3. impress / ɪmˈprɛs / (v.) – to get admiration from someone
Example: The teacher was impressed by Ina’s report.

4. approach / əˈproʊtʃ / (n.) – a specific way of doing something
Example: My professor uses a creative approach when teaching.

5. mindset / ˈmaɪndˌsɛt / (n.) – a fixed way of thinking that affects how a person acts or responds
Example: She needs to change her negative mindset about boys.


Read the text below.
A headmistress in the United Kingdom claims that girls perform better academically in single-sex schools.

Rhiannon Wilkinson [ree-an-NON WIL-kin-suh n], headmistress of the Wycombe Abbey [WEE-kuhm AB-ee], said that boys hold back girls when they are in the same learning environment. This is because in coeducational schools, adolescent girls tend to be focused on making boys like them. But in single-sex schools, girls are free from this kind of pressure. Thus, girls work better in single-sex schools as they can focus on their own work instead of impressing boys.

In single-sex education, girls and boys are separated from each other either in classes or schools. It is a common practice in many countries because of religious and cultural beliefs. To date, many private schools around the world continue to practice this kind of education.

Kristin Stanberry of GreatSchools, an educational nonprofit organization, cited some advantages of going to single-sex schools. One of which is that teachers can use a more specific approach appropriate to one gender. Another advantage is that it can lessen the distraction caused by interacting with the opposite sex.

Despite Wilkinson and Stanberry’s claims, single-sex education also receives several criticisms. Forbes reported that when students are separated by sex, they miss the chance of developing social skills through working with each other. Students in single-sex schools also tend to have a mindset that one gender is superior to the other. Also, a study in 2014 found that single-sex schools do not educate students any better than co-ed schools.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts about single-sex education?
·         Do you agree that interacting with the opposite sex causes distraction among students?

Discussion B

·         How can we help students perform better in school?
·         Why do you think some students perform badly at school?

June 25, 2015