March 13, 2008. Calgary, Canada. Clear Water was one of
several schools featured in an article by Sarah McGinnis in
the February 24, 2008 issue of the city’s main newspaper,
the Calgary Herald. The articles “Local Schools Lead Alberta
Rankings” and “How Top Schools Do It” have both
been posted on the Clear Water Academy web site for
viewing. Clear Water Academy is an independent Catholic school that
uses the Integral Formation method of education developed by the
Legion of Christ.
Gender-Specific Classrooms Make a Big Difference
article “How Top Schools Do It” notes that one of
the special features of a school like Clear Water Academy
is its gender-specific education.
There is no lack of evidence
proving that boys and girls learn differently and that “divide
and conquer” is the best educational strategy.
As McGinnis observes, girls
are capable of working in silent concentration for a stretch
of times, while boys need constant movement to stay engaged
and interested in the subject matter.
Single-sex education is not only
tailored to boys’ and girls’ unique learning styles, but it
also helps keep them focused and disciplined in the classroom.
Peer pressure is a foe to be reckoned with in
junior high school, when a snicker or a comment from
a member of the opposite sex can squelch the desire
to learn—or at least, the desire to be seen learning.
In the single-sex classrooms of a school like Clear Water
Academy, this kind of pressure is much less of an
Sarah McGinnis quotes Paul Hudec, the school principal, who observes:
“In a junior high girls’ mathematics class, no one has
to sit there and worry about giving the wrong answer
and fear the boys will laugh. The boys in a
language arts class wouldn’t have to be embarrassed to be
excited by Shakespeare.”
Kids Speak for Themselves
What do the children
think of this arrangement? As observed by McGinnis, opinions seem
“Back in the Grade 5 boys classroom, the question
of going to school without the girls sparks a debate.
‘It’s better for boys and girls to be separated because
they learn and think differently,’ says 10-year-old Nicholas Krawec. ‘I
miss the girls,’ counters Cole Richardson, 10. ‘I like one