Gender Groups Bring Learning To All Time Low

By Ethan Hill ‘19 and Quincy Rumsfeld ’20

CatlinSpeak Co-Editor Lauren Fogelstrom gives two sixth graders advice on their articles.

CatlinSpeak Co-Editor Lauren gives two sixth graders advice on their articles.

Editors Note: For three weeks, the Catlin Gabel sixth graders split into gender groups, in which most classes were segregated by sex. At the end of their experience, the sixth graders reflected on the merits of single-sex education. After the class chose the best pieces, the elected writers visited our New Media Studies (CatlinSpeak) class and workshopped their pieces with our staff. These articles are the final products of the class of 2020’s hard work.

Do you feel that when you are with your friends you do your best learning? Yes or No? We think that you do not. Some of the reasons why we think not are, first of all, same gender classes can make it difficult to focus with all of your friends surrounding you. Secondly, it’s too tempting to talk with them about popular topics.

It is personally very difficult for us to not talk to our friends when they are in the same class and right next to us. Dont get us wrong, we definitely think that learning about gender is important, but we think there is a better way to learn about it: by coming together as a group and listening to a presentation given by either a specialist or a group of teachers.

We feel that before we split into gender groups when there were girls and boys in the class together you would get better scores on tests and oral reports and big projects. That leads us right into our second point.

During Oral Reports, we noticed that kids would make funny faces that would distract or ruin somebody’s presentation. Because of this, we think gender groups didn’t help our learning and there needs to be a change.

Our first argument is that we think it is difficult to focus with your friends sitting right next to you. It is too tempting to talk to your friends or joke around with them during your classes. Friends can also distract you during big presentations such as oral reports and humanities speeches.

Now we’re not saying that would not happen in normal classes, but there is a bigger chance of it happening in gender groups due to all of your friends joking around, talking and making funny faces. Your friends will do it to you because they are close to you, but if someone you didn’t really know watched your presentation they would most likely be silent and gain some knowledge from the presentation which is what the teachers want us to do in the first place.

Will Attig of the Catlin Gabel middle school said “Gender groups were great, but I feel our learning decreased.” Why did our learning decrease? Because it is harder to stay focused in a class of people who are close to you and repetitively are trying to make you smile or laugh.

Next, it is harder to follow directions in gender groups. If your friends are talking to you it is very difficult to hear the directions and what the teacher is saying.

Jimmy Maslen, a 6th grader in the Catlin Gabel Middle School, says “It’s hard to hear what the teachers are saying because so many people are talking.”. All of those things that were mentioned earlier could possibly prevent a student from hearing something important or what the homework is which could lead to an uncompleted assignment or a big project done wrong.

One of the arguments of why we should have gender groups is that you feel a lot more free and you don’t feel any stress. This is true they are fun and you get to talk about thing you would not talk about in normal groups. Also all of your friends are there making you feel less pressure. But in the long run we felt like we didn’t do as good on assignments, and that we were less focused in class.

We definitely know that learning about gender is important, but we feel that there are different ways that we could learn about gender. This year in humanities we thought about what is beauty and what is strength. Why are females considered beautiful and why are males considered strong. We learned that beauty and strength can be the same thing. That was a great way to learn about gender. We felt like We learned more about gender in that one question than we did at any other time in gender groups. We just didn’t understand why we had to split up into groups of the same gender.