At Lausanne Collegiate School, a co-ed school in Memphis, teachers focus on the individual child, channeling the student’s interests and supporting their unique learning styles.
“Every child is different, with a unique learning style,” shares Laura Trott, Director of Admission at Lausanne. “Regardless of gender, all students have their own distinctive way of learning. Adapting a custom approach for each student while they learn with a diverse student body of different genders and racial backgrounds prepares them for the real world in a way that segregated education can’t.”
Advocates of the co-ed experience point to how co-ed schools offer a parallel to the real world, preparing them to be better equipped to work with people outside their own demographics. The exposure to diversity and the opportunity to collaborate with others who don’t look like you literally mirrors the real world.
“Children exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking at an early age are better equipped to exhibit empathy and in turn focus on being a better global citizen,” says Trott. “Rather than waiting to learn how to interact with peers later on in life, they instead find themselves prepared to communicate and actively participate in any community they join.”
Children in co-educational schools like Lausanne are encouraged and enabled to build relationships with opposite-sex peers from an early age without preconceived notions of how a girl or a boy “should” act. Given today’s global workforce, schools that provide inclusive environments are thought to better prepare students for the future, fostering more understanding, mutual respect, varying perspectives and equal opportunities among genders.
From early childhood to graduation, giving children an environment to learn academically and test different social interactions is essential to their success later in life.
Research also consistently shows that the benefit of these encounters is more significant when the student engages with students of different genders, ethnic backgrounds, and religious beliefs.
“Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not,” shared Katherine W. Phillips, a professor at Northwestern University in an article for the Scientific American. She and colleagues looked at decades of research on the subject. They found that groups with diversity are more innovative than groups of only one gender or race.
“Being with similar others leads us to think we all hold the same information and share the same perspective,” said Phillips. “We need diversity—in teams, organizations, and society as a whole—if we are to change, grow, and innovate.”
Research also shows co-educational learning environments offer timely benefits for kids in all grade levels and backgrounds. But parents, inundated with claims of benefits of single-sex education over co-educational environments, are often misled into thinking that children learn differently based on their gender.
“Proponents of single-sex schools argue that separating boys and girls increases students’ achievement and academic interest,” said Janet Shibley Hyde, Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Research by Hyde and her team for the American Psychological Association found that single-gender education does not teach girls and boys any better than co-ed schools.
“Our comprehensive analysis of the data shows that these advantages are trivial and, in many cases, nonexistent,” Hyde shared.
Richard Fabes, Ph.D., who worked on the study with Hyde, went further. The Distinguished Professor of Child Development at Arizona State University argued that single-sex education was, in fact, detrimental.
“Additionally, based on voluminous research of the negative effects of separating people into groups, we warned that single-sex classrooms would likely generate and exacerbate stereotyping and sexist attitudes,” Fabes said in an article in the New York Times about the study.
Instead of separating girls and boys to educate them in a particular way because of gender, education experts advocate for individualized, custom learning approaches for each student in a diverse environment.
There’s no better way to see if a school is the right fit for your child than to experience it for yourself. Tour the school and see if the people teaching the classes are engaging students, instead of just lecturing to them. And watch if the students seem engaged with learning! Look on the school website for upcoming admissions events, or call and tell them you’d like to visit campus. Lausanne’s can be found at https://www.lausanneschool.com/admissions.