It may sound a little old school but St Joseph’s College Lochinvar is segregating a select group of male and female students.
Principal Paul Greaves said the English-based program was nothing new to the school, and had proven a great success. He said participating students kicked goals in their senior high school years.
The program, based around student engagement, involves the top 30 boys and girls in year 9 English, divided into same-sex classes to study the subject.
The aim is to engage students more and shut down distractions inherent to this age group.
Mr Greaves said a number of co-educational schools were trialling the same program, including St Joseph’s at Aberdeen.
“When boys and girls are in year 9 they are vastly different both physically and mentally,” Mr Greaves said.
“Girls are probably a bit further down the track in terms of maturity. They can communicate well, whereas boys can be judgemental and argumentative.
“They both have two different trains of thought and interpretation, but at the end of the day they are both doing English.”
He said the different classes studied different texts and explained it would be more difficult to engage boys in Jane Eyre than it would with Lord of the Flies for example.
“It doesn’t mean they are getting a better education, it’s about the engagement experience.
“Engage them in year 9 and they are on board for years 10, 11 and 12.”
Mr Greaves explained that English was the most appropriate subject for the same-sex classes.
“There’s not a lot of gender specific stuff in science or maths and I don’t think there has ever been a feminist approach to algebra or equations,” he said.
“It is satisfying to see that the kids do get somewhere with this.
At the end of the year they talk and write differently, Mr Greaves said.