David working with a group of educators. David presenting to a group of educators.
Teaching In A Single-Gender Class
Professional Development Information
Feedback From Professional Development Session
Single-gender or single-sex education is when you separate boys and girls for some or all of the school day. Public school single-gender education is legal at this time in the United States, but there are important regulations that guide what constitutes a legal form of public school single-gender education.
It is important to recognize that boys and girls must learn the same set of state standards and must take the same state assessments. This is not the resurgence of 1950's education of girls and boys. Single-gender or single-sex education has existed for a very long time. However, in previous years public school single-gender education was something that meant that boys received one type of education and access to certain privileged knowledge and girls received another type of education. Private school single-sex education has existed and continues to exist across the country. In fact, many research organizations turned to these institutions to conduct studies. Of course, other countries (i.e. England and Australia) also have a significant number of single-sex schools.
In the United States, considering gender within education was strictly forbidden by the passage of Title IX in 1972; discrimination based upon sex is illegal. It was not until 2002 that public school single-gender schools and classes received a new look through No Child Left Behind (NCLB). NCLB said that using single-gender classes and schools could be a way to address educational objectives and in October 2006 the official federal regulations guiding the creation of public single-gender classes and schools were released. These regulations took effect in November 2006.
First, it is imperative that anyone interested in single-gender education become familiar with the Federal regulations. Access them here.
The ACLU brought a lawsuit against the Brekenridge, KY school district. The case was dismissed. Kentucky Case, Read Opinion.
My approach to single-gender education comes from the combination of fourteen years as a classroom teacher, three years as an administrator of a single-gender program, knowledge about recent research on gender differences, and a statewide view of organizing, training, and troubleshooting teaching within single-gender programs. My unique perspective combines the practical aspect of the teacher, the organizational issues of an administrator, and theoretical concerns.
1. Gender is not just a single-gender issue. Issues of gender matter in coed classes as well as single-gender classes and should be address in all types of classrooms.
2. Gender is one of many aspects of a person that affect their learning: learning style, previous experience, multiple intelligence, culture, socio-economic status, etc. all are a part of a person's learning influences. "Gendered strategies"
3. There is no such thing as a strategy that is only good for boys or only good for girls. There may be strategies to which boys tend to have a positive reaction and girls tend to have a positive reaction, but that does NOT mean that these strategies are "bad" for the opposite sex.
4. Single-gender classes are not necessarily or by themselves better than coed classes. Single-gender classes are choices for parents and opportunities to meet the needs of children in a different learning environment.
I am the author of the only book on how to create a single-gender program. It is titled, A Gendered Choice: Designing and Implementing Single-Sex Programs and Schools. In 2004 I became the Lead Teacher for the TWO Academies at Dent Middle School. TWO is a single-gender program within a larger middle school. The program started with sixth grade and grew into eighth grade by the fall of 2006. After three years, I moved to the South Carolina State Department of Education to be the Coordinator of Single-Gender Initiatives. (Charleston Post and Courier State Hires Single-Gender School Official http://www.charleston.net/news/2007/jul/16/state_hires_single_gender_school_officia10661/) I held this position for four years. I worked with districts, schools, teachers and parents as they designed and implemented their own single-gender programs. In addition, I trained teachers in understanding gender differences and effective strategies for single-gender classrooms.
I continue to work with teachers from around the nation as they develop their own single-gender programs. On October 1, 2007, the Associated Press ran an article nationwide that recognized South Carolina as the leaders in single-gender education. Read this article here. Associated Press Article: S.C. Leads in Single-Gender Classes (October 1, 2007)
As Coordinator for Single-Gender Initiatives, I ran a conference on single-gender education every March. This conference, called the Teacher-to-Teacher Conference, was centered on teachers of single-gender classes within South Carolina presenting what they do to other teachers involved with or interested in single-gender education. While the conference was designed for South Carolina educators, out of state educators also attended.
I talked about single-gender education on MSNBC's The Most and South Carolina ETV program Speaking of Schools.
I wrote an article titled Engaging the Differences Between Boys and Girls for Middle Matters (March 2007, Vol. 15, No.4).
I wrote an article titled Single-Gender Education: An Option for Meeting Diverse Student Needs for Diverse Learning Communities Today of National Association of Elementary School Principals (November 2008, Vol. 1, No. 2).
My work has included: