Girls’ Schools Are Awesome and Here’s Why
I was having a discussion with a member of staff this morning and I happened to look out of the window where a group of girls were assembled and ready to go swimming. Quite spontaneously, the girls started to dance, and what started with two or three girls, ended up with the whole group participating. Not only that but they were really good and both the staff member and I commented on this being one of the benefits of an all-girls education. You see, this spontaneity is not as evident in a co-educational school. In fact, you don’t really see it in the world more generally. It is reserved for places where girls can feel comfortable in their own skin and don’t feel as if they are being judged.
So what is it that makes girls’ schools awesome? I know this can be a contentious question, however, the research indicates that girls’ schools focus on teaching girls what they can achieve in the world and the difference they can make. In short, girls’ schools are aspirational in all the best ways as they provide girls with the support and resources to achieve their very best without many of the distractions that other educational environments provide.
It is reported that in coeducational classes, boys receive up to eight times as much teacher time as girls. They are called on less often to answer questions, are asked to participate in classroom demonstrations less and are asked their opinion less often. They are even given less time to answer questions than boys. This is not the fault of boys, rather it is how the dynamic of how coeducational schools work.Girls just don’t get the same opportunities in these environments as they do in girls’ schools.
The research indicates that the best thing about girls’ schools is that they allow girls to be themselves, which means they are free to focus their energies on their learning. They also prepare girls for the real world as they are provided with an education that prepares them for life beyond the classroom. This is done by requiring girls to research areas in-depth, connect ideas across domains and challenge them to grapple with problems with no clear solutions.
In a girls’ school, students are mentored by a community of peers, teachers and school leaders. This provides girls with excellent role models and strong mentors. As girls place more emphasis on interpersonal relationships than boys, they are often the beneficiaries of more social support and are more likely to emphasise helping behavior over competitive behavior. They also have higher aspirations and greater motivation than their female peers in coed schools.
Finally girl’s schools capitalise on girls’ unique learning styles with structures that support student success. Girls in same sex schools report girls feeling more supported, being exposed to more positive academic and behavioural interactions and reporting higher levels of feedback. However, the greatest benefit I observe is the care and concern that our girls have for each other. What makes St Mary’s awesome? That’s easy - your daughters make our school awesome and they will continue to do so.
Dr Frank Pitt
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