A discovery centred teaching style is more suited to girls | Portsmouth High School

A discovery centred teaching style is more suited to girls

The weather was extremely kind to us recently for our annual Open Day, with unexpected sunshine helping us to show off the school on a very busy morning. As always, the girls that assisted were an absolute credit to us and I was inundated with comments about their self-confidence and mature attitudes.

A regular theme discussed with parents at such events is why girls only at this age? It is a reasonable question and certainly something that needs to be considered, especially given the lack of boys only schools in our local area. There are many answers that immediately spring to mind, especially given that I have experienced the single sex approach for the last twelve years as a parent and a teacher. One in particular stands out amongst many other reasons to send a daughter to a girls’ school.

I did not realise until I began to teach in a girls’ school that I had always set up my classroom and taught for the boys. From my experience and having seen many colleagues in numerous environments I am certain that this is not unique to me. What I mean by this is that my style and approach was effective for the male side of the classroom, but not nearly as much for the female side. Once I started teaching purely girls I realised that I could use a more discovery centred methodology, whereby there was far more freedom to explore. The problem of this with boys of primary age is that it is very easy to lose them, they struggle to cope with more autonomy and need a tighter style.

I am aware that I am generalising and not all boys and girls learn in these ways. But twenty-one years of experience has shown me that these things are true in the vast majority of cases. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to teach in, be a leader of and send my daughter to a girls’ school and a great one at that.