Why an All-Boys School?
Public educators are beginning to recognize and embrace the benefits of single sex education, opening more than 100 gender specific schools in the past fifteen years. At McQuaid Jesuit, teaching all boys has been a tradition since 1954.
When our students speak about the all male environment, they talk about the ‘brotherhood’ that McQuaid Jesuit fosters “The brotherhood at McQuaid is not like any other. It's special, and it makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself.” (Colby Harriman ‘14) Our Jesuit traditions of the magis, the spirit of generous excellence, and cura personalis, the care for each person, challenge our community to reach beyond the goal of academic excellence to focus on the development of the whole person, forming men who use their talents to serve others. In short, what our students identify as a brotherhood, shaped by an all boys environment, is actually the result of a community wide effort to form men dedicated to serving God and humanity with a profound sense of justice.
Research reveals that boys learn differently than girls. There are gender specific educational styles and expectations for teacher-student relationships. Boys and girls bring different needs and goals to the classroom. Success in an all boys environment requires that we identify the differences in how boys develop and embrace the educational opportunities distinctly beneficial to boys.
McQuaid Jesuit tailors its curriculum and teaching methodology to capitalize on the ways boys learn. Our instruction encompasses techniques that recognize and encourage the unique learning styles and tempos of adolescent boys. We understand that competition, rivalry, hands-on learning and energy are some of the hallmarks that characterize successful boys’ education. These are distinctly different from the cooperative and contextual learning that distinguish effective girls’ education. Boys thrive on movement, vivid description, and enjoy a classroom that is experiential in its approach. The faculty at McQuaid Jesuit understands how boys learn and employs teaching practices that keep the boys engaged in a spirited process of education.
The idea that ‘boys will be boys’ has both positive and negative connotations. However, ‘boys as boys’ should not be a detrimental stereotype of the male population. Adolescence is a turbulent time for growth: physically, socially and academically. The pressure to assume an identity is formidable. The all boys setting allows our students freedom to be themselves without worrying about what the girls think. McQuaid Jesuit provides an environment where the developmental issues of adolescent males are addressed. A successful boys’ school embraces a peer culture where young men feel free to be themselves, pursuing their interests and talents regardless of social stereotyping. At many coeducational schools, academic and extra-curricular choices earn boys labels of ‘geek’ or ‘jock’, but rarely both. Our all boys environment provides students the freedom to explore interests in academics, art, music, athletics and a host of over 50 activities without concern for the typecasting that occurs in a coeducational environment.
Critics ask: “If education is about training kids for the coed world, shouldn’t education be conducted in a coed environment?” and “Doesn’t the boys will be boys mentality produce men who are thugs?” In fact, we recognize that simply being an all boys’ school does not make the environment a productive place to form men. Leadership from adults who understand the responsibility of teaching boys to become men of character is essential. Our Ignatian heritage, rooted in the teachings of the Society of Jesus, insists that the process of education take place in a moral as well as intellectual framework. It calls for the reverence of the dignity of each individual and urges students to uphold integrity and respect in dealing with all people.
McQuaid Jesuit is proud to be a place where education is directed to the unique learning styles of boys. In our single sex environment, we are free to direct gender specific traits that might be viewed as liabilities into assets that foster intellectual curiosity. We provide a culture where competition in academics is a natural fit and it is cool for boys to study. As a result, our students are academically successful and motivated to be life-long learners.
Gurian, Michael. The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life
Pollack, William, Ph.D. Real Boys
Sax, Leonard, M.D., Ph.D. Boys Adrift, Why Gender Matters