The primary advantage of a coed learning environment is social. “What matters most about school is social life,” says Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández, an assistant professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. When it comes to social development, co-ed schools in some ways have the upper hand. “There is a positive dimension in terms of the large number of opportunities for relating to each other across gender lines.” Gaztambide-Fernández adds that “These students confront gender on a daily basis, so they're able to develop more nuanced strategies for dealing with the opposite sex—strategies that will be useful later on in life."
A diverse social environment
In a co-educational learning environment, students are exposed to both male and female role models. They are also more likely to encounter a greater range of leadership styles, values and lifestyles. A 2006 study, “Perceptions and Attitudes of Students toward their Academic and Social Experiences in Canadian High Schools,” reported that they “offer students the opportunity to exchange a broad range of opinions and viewpoints with their peers since the schools comprise a mixed-gender student body."
It’s often suggested that the benefit of coed schooling is that it better reflects the environment that exists beyond the school walls as well as the subsequent environments—post-secondary institutions and professional life—that students will ultimately move into. That said, the same argument—that coed schooling reflects society at large—is also used in favour of single-gender schooling, namely that in the wider world boys and girls can be limited by the opportunities, expectations, or encouragements that are available to them.
Ultimately, the decision is based in the specific needs of the individual student. The demeanor, talent, and social aptitude of the student will play the largest role determining the best educational environment to enroll within, be it single-gender or coed.
Find coed private schools in the Maritimes listed on this page.