100%(1)1 out of 1 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 10 - 11 out of 12 pages.
support. Another female teacher at the boys’ school emphasized her need for more consistent professional development to provide feedback and reinforce the training, concluding, “I would want ongoing training, or, you know, at least some idea that I’m on the right track.” Key words such as “support” and “feedback” were tracked through the open-ended responses, as the teachers seemed to suggest that the novelty of their teaching situation warranted more hands-on support than they were given from their administrators or outside professional development trainers. “I wish I had a mentor with me every day,” declared one teacher in the girls’ school. On the other hand, the teachers spoke positively about the ways in which they were handling the students in their single-sex classes. For example, the teachers mentioned one key strategy repeatedly: incorporating movement in class activities. They noted that both boys and girls responded better when movement was incorporated into their class activities. The teachers in the boys’ school were more emphatic about boys’ need to move. In their open-ended responses, the teachers shared several strategies they were using to accommodate this need. DiscussionThis study sought to explore the effectiveness of single-sex classes according to the perceptions of teachers who were teaching in them. Both qualitative and quantitative data suggested that the teachers were initially positively disposed to the single-sex arrangements. In both the initial focus group and in the initial survey, the responses of the teachers reflected optimism that further seemed to characterize their perceptions of the behaviors of boys and girls in single-sex classes. They were similarly positive about the potential of the single-sex reform to meet the needs of their students. However, in the initial focus group, teachers’ vague concerns about administrative support proved to be prophetic in terms of their actual experiences as the school year progressed. Some of the teachers received unfavorable evaluations from central office administrators unfamiliar with the gender-friendly strategies the teachers had learned in their training session. The administrators sought and demanded uniform instruction at the single-sex academies as compared to other schools in the district.At the end of the school year, the teachers’ responses were more negative than those given on the initial survey or during the focus group interviews. The teachers’ optimism and joint mission were not evidenced in the follow-up survey. Perhaps the change was a result of the developmental changes that young adolescents exhibit during the sixth grade. This normal developmental change may have taken its toll on the teachers, who, perhaps, felt or even hoped that single-sex classes would preclude or forestall the effects of these changes. The reality was that the sixth grade students they faced in September were almost seventh grade students in May, when the teachers were surveyed. Anyone who has taught in a middle school