Some of the girls sated that as a disadvantage of having mixed-sex sex education with boys was that on an average every day school experience, some of the girls would undergo sexual and physical assaults from the boys. “Some ways [it’s better] without boys, but other ways it’s good” (Taylor and Francis). The girls say that it is better without the boys as of the immoral behaviour from the boys. The girls tend to talk more about their experiences in mixed-sex classes they have had rather than their experiences in single-sex classes. When the topics in the single-sex classes were about contraception or on menstruation then it was mentioned.
“Girls identified the main advantage of both single-sex classes and mixed-sex group work as being that they felt able to talk more openly and focus on the information and issues that they wanted to talk about. “(Taylor and Francis). Boys were more hesitant to discuss their experience and opinions on single-sex and mixed-sex sex education than the girls. The boys were more optimistic about having sex education in mixed-sex classes than the girls, though their descriptions of the classes were positive. The criticism focused on the matter of the classes felt to be extraneous.
A number of the boys mentioned potential benefits of single-sex groups. A majority of the boys felt incapable to contribute in the lessons. “You can’t express your feelings in front of girls. “(Taylor and Francis). Other boys found that it was hard to ask questions on embarrassing topics in front of the girls and it would expose the boys to be mockery in front of the girls. The boys did not take any responsibility for being disruptive but suggested that “disruptive behaviour was a way of dealing with underlying anxiety and fear”( Taylor and Francis).
A number of the boys found that the boys who were disrupted were not immature but “they’re too scared or afraid to say what they want. “(Taylor and Francis). From a positive aspect of the mixed-sex sex education both boys and girls experiences have a potential advantage that reflects on them working with the opposite sex. The focus on mixed-sex classes was that it gave the girls and boys an advantage “to share their views, with the other sex, and that this enabled them to learn about and understand each other better.
“(Taylor and Francis). Several boys felt that girls were favoured by receiving consultation in single-sex classes as they felt that the boys missed out on gaining information. Boys and girls working together is essential in order to expand their confidence about conversing with each other. Some girls expressed how spending more time with boys gave them the opportunity to observe the boys and deciding whether or not they were appropriate for them. “Socially constructed femininity and masculinity”(Swirsky).
In the same way some boys said that having mixed-sex classes gave them the opportunity to learn about the opposite sex and give them a better foundation on oncoming relationships. Asian girls had received single-sex sex education until year 10, not giving them the opportunity to socialise and encounter with boys. This was an image seen as a girl’s reputation and social rank would be ruined by socialising with boys. The Asian girls found that the mixed-sex groups were “new and exciting, and providing a valuable opportunity for learning about boys”( Taylor and Francis).
Girls and boys debated that the characteristics of the teacher was important, so they could be comfortable and relate to the teachers as they are experienced and not embarrassed to have discussions. It is important that the teacher listens, responds and treats the girls and boys equally. Various girls said that a female teacher would be more understanding, “a female teacher might be more likely than a man to understand their experiences and perspectives. “( Taylor and Francis). Girls found that interacting with the male teacher could become an opening for the boys to start teasing them.
It was expressed that boys tend to find that issues raised in the lessons to be irrelevant, as they seem to think they already know everything there is to know about sex education. Lenderyou and Ray(1997) and Forrest(2000) have identified that the failure of sex education to address issues considered by boys to be important and relevant, and influence of this on their disengagement and disruption in lessons. In spite of this, topics raised by the boys were women’s sexual pleasures, how to have sex, masturbation and erections.