TEEN BOARDING SCHOOLS
Benefits of an All-Boys School
One of the decisions parents face when deciding to send a student to boarding school is whether the school will be co-ed or single-sex.
Recent studies into learning styles have revealed that boys and girls learn very differently. Boys use more of their brains for spatial-mechanical functioning, which not only means that they enjoy moving things around but also that they learn better when they're able to do so. Boys also compartmentalize learning, which means that it's harder for them to switch from one subject to another. And, boys have less serotonin in their brains, so they're more likely to act impulsively and be less able to sit still for long periods of time.
There are also many studies that indicate that the educational community has been so focused addressing the educational issues of girls that boys are being left behind. One product of the feminist movement was the realization that girls were struggling more in school than boys were. This has led to the redevelopment of many lesson plans and overall school structures, in attempts to respond to the unique learning styles of girls. One of the unfortunate results has been that boys are now struggling more than girls.
Recent studies have shown that:
- Eighty percent of high school drop outs are boys
- Males make up fewer than 40 percent of college students
- Boys earn 70 percent of Ds and Fs and fewer than half of As
- Two-thirds of the children who are diagnosed with learning disabilities are boys
- Girls outperformed boys in knowledge and skills tests conducted in 35 industrialized countries
- Boys consistently score lower (often significantly lower) than girls in reading and writing tests
So what do all of the research and the statistics mean? They mean that there are definite benefits to an all-boys school.
Because boys learn so much differently than girls, a single-sex school allows the teachers and administrators to address the specific educational needs of boys. For example, because boys have a difficult time sitting still, teachers can include physical activity in the lesson plans, which helps the boys pay attention and learn better. Teachers can also use "props" that girls wouldn't tolerate - like gardener snakes or bugs - that will keep boys interested. Boys' tendencies towards spatial-mechanics can be built into a curriculum by a teacher who uses building blocks or model airplanes to talk about geometry or physics. It means that reading and writing assignments - the subjects in which boys tend to struggle the most - can be developed to include motion and tactile, active learning.
Often, teachers who are hired into boys' schools have previous experience working with boys. This means that they have experience developing curriculum and assignments specifically designed to challenge boys and engage their intellect. The staff at an all-boys school understands the issues that are unique to boys and they are experienced at helping guide young men through the difficulties and challenges that arise as they're growing up.
Though it sounds counter-intuitive, many students often develop a stronger sense of their masculinity and greater confidence at an all-boys school. Because there are no girls to impress, boys feel little or no need to show off or prove their masculinity. They learn to be more sensitive, less "macho", and they feel free to explore disciplines like the arts that might be considered more of a "girls thing" at a co-ed school. They also have a greater diversity of male role models, which aids them in their exploration of their own masculinity.
Though no school is perfect, a single-sex school is uniquely equipped to educate young boys in ways that ensures their learning styles and challenges are considered and addressed.