This topic was chosen out of curiosity as to which type of school produces the more socially competent (rounded) students and also because it is an interesting topic to investigate. High School is important for the development of a teenager. It is instrumental in moulding teens into respectable citizens, who socialize with other teens and learn the value of hard work, good citizenship and social responsibility. It exposes them to various extra-curricular activities, and helps them to gain exposure to leadership role-modelling at various stages throughout school life as well as their own involvement in leadership. The words “socially competent” or “rounded” means to be complete. The more exposure and responsibilities a teen undertakes adds to and helps in their personal development. The teenager must also excel academically as well as in extra-curricular activities.
From observation it would seem that some schools are more adept at producing socially competent graduates than others. Immaculate appears to be one of those producing schools. Immaculate Conception High School and Kellits High School will be investigated by comparison to determine whether students attending Jamaican Co-educational schools are more socially competent than students attending Same-sex schools. Immaculate Conception High School, a traditional Jamaican High School, was founded in January 1858 by the Franciscan Sisters. It is located at 152 Constant Spring Road.
The school obtains high pass rates annually for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC). Here, students are moulded to become contributing members of their communities and society. Kellits High School is an upgraded non-traditional high school and was founded in 1971. Located in Kellits, Clarendon, it offers many Technical as well as Academic Proficiency Subjects for students to pursue in the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC). Students educated here become respectable citizens such as skilled workers and farmers.
* ascertain the level of competence of students at single-sex schools in Jamaica * ascertain the level of competence of students at co-educational schools in Jamaica * compare these levels of social competence of students in Jamaican Co-educational schools and students from Same-sex schools. * determine whether the data supports the hypothesis that “Students attending Jamaican Co- educational schools are more socially competent than students attending Same-sex schools.” * determine the level of social competence at Immaculate Conception High School versus the level of social competence of students at Kellits High School. * present the data graphically and numerically with the aid of diagrams * analyse data collected with the aid of computers
Multiple methods of data collection can enhance understanding of the phenomena under study.
The Quantitative research approach was used. Twenty questionnaires each were distributed to students attending Immaculate Conception High School and Kellits High School. The questionnaires consisted of twenty questions each, with fifteen closed ended and five open ended questions. There was a 100 percent return rate and simple random sampling was used to select the sampling population.
Data Collection Instrument
A questionnaire was chosen because it was a quick and inexpensive method of data collection, whilst at the same providing a wealth of information. Closed-Ended Questionnaires were chosen because are more readily analysed and susceptible to diagrammatic presentation. However there were some limitations experienced. The students misunderstood some questions. The comparison of a traditional and non-traditional school, instead of two schools being traditional, or vice versa proved also to be a major limitation.
Social competence depends upon a number of factors including social skills, social awareness, and self-confidence. A key developmental task of adolescence is the formation of an identity; a sense of the kind of person you are and the kind of person you want to be. Adolescents “try on” different social roles as they interact with peers, and peers serve as a social “stepping stone” as adolescents move away from their emotional dependence upon their parents and toward autonomous functioning as an adult. The school therefore plays an integral role in instilling the necessary skills in students to ensure that they are socially competent.
According to Haralambos and Holborn, Sociology Themes and Perspectives (1995), Fourth Edition “…The school serves a function which cannot be provided by the family or peer group…” (p. 727) and that “…individuals must learn to cooperate with those who are neither their kin nor their friends…”
Individuals are taught to be socially competent from birth. Parents ensure that children are taught necessary social skills and behaviours to socialize them to the norms and values of the society.
In same-sex schools, differences in curriculum are very evident compared to that of co-educational schools. According to Mustapha in Sociology for Caribbean Students (2009), First Edition, the critics of Davis and Moore’s theory say, “… There are different values being taught to different groups within the educational system. The ‘so called’ prestigious schools in the Caribbean have different values from the Junior and Senior Secondary schools. This is reflected in the different curricula offered at these schools…” (p. 170)
Mustapha (2009) notes further that, “…Early socialization (parenting styles which guide boys and girls into different activities)….. Using differential toys for the sexes (e.g. boys get guns, trucks and bricks, whereas girls get dolls, tea-sets and soft toys…” (p. 185). He goes on to comment on same-sex schools where the curriculum is geared to the gender, whether male or female. “…timetabling subjects so that traditional boys’ and girls’ subjects are taught at the same time (i.e. compelling girls to do subjects deemed ‘girls’ subjects…” (p. 185)
Therefore, at an all- girl’s school, there are mostly subjects in which girls are expected to be “interested” in and vice versa for boys. We are in an age where gender barriers are being broken down. According to an article “CAUTION: Women at work” by Tyrone Reid printed in The Sunday Gleaner, February 6, 2011, “The STATIN survey showed that in the age 20-29 cohort, the 46,875 women employed to the construction and installation sector represented 53.6 per cent of the total head count…” (p. 3)
In a similar article “Jill of all Trades” written by Tyrone Reid and published in The Sunday Gleaner, February 6, 2011, Charmaine Wilks featured in the article, is a plumber, and asserts that “…traditional sectors are saturated…” and that “…not everyone wants to use a computer…”(p. 1)
In adolescence, a teenager becomes self-aware and is figuring out who they are and what career path they would like to pursue. Students at same-sex schools are therefore limited to few career paths when compared to students at co-educational schools.
Twenty respondents from the Immaculate Conception High School, a same sex girls’ school from Grade eleven and 20 respondents from Grade eleven from Kellits High School, a co-educational high school were randomly selected for this questionnaire. Fourteen respondents from the Co-Educational High School (70%) believe that their school offers many subject choices while eleven respondents from Immaculate Conception High (55%) think that their school has many subject choices while nine respondents. It is interesting to note that one respondent from Immaculate Conception High said that she would like to see even Cosmetology offered in the Other category while majority of respondents (10- 21%) would like to see Theatre Arts offered at Immaculate. At Kellits High most respondents (28%) said that they would want to see French offered at their school.
On whether subjects are of interest to students, 55% answered Yes while 45% responded some of them. At the Same Sex School however 30% responded yes, 5% responded No, and 65% believed some of them are of interest to students. Ten students (50%) from Immaculate Conception High felt that they were limited to a career choice because of subjects offered at their school while six students responded no (30%) and 4 respondents were not sure (20%). At Kellits High seven students responded yes (35%), seven respondents said no (35%) and six students were not sure (30%). Also 17 respondents (85%) from Immaculate felt rounded or socially competent after attending their school for a long time.
It is clear that the majority from both schools rate their school as excellent or very good. It is however interesting to note that some respondents from the Co-Educational School rated their school as bad, thus showing that they were not completely pleased with their school, especially because it is not a traditional school. Most respondents said that they were not influenced to attend their current school, reinforcing the fact neither parents, neither teacher, nor family would want their children to attend a non-traditional high school. In contrast, ten respondents (50%) from Immaculate were influenced by their parents to attend that school which is a traditional high school which shows that parents influence their children to attend traditional high schools.
The majority of respondents from Immaculate (50%) believed that they were limited to a career choice because of the subjects offered at their school while at Kellits High 35% of respondents felt that way. It should be stated however that most respondents from Immaculate (85%) were confident that they felt socially competent while 80% of respondents from Kellits also felt socially competent after attending their school for a long time. A whopping 70% of respondents from Kellits High felt that their school prepared them greatly for the future while a meagre thirty percent from Immaculate believed that their school prepared them greatly for the future.
All aims and objectives were met. There was plausible indicative falsification of the hypothesis. There was falsification of the hypothesis “Students attending Jamaican Co-educational schools are more socially competent than those attending Same-sex schools.”
Students from both the same-sex and co-educational school felt that their school did not offer many subject choices and that there needs to be a change in the variety of subjects offered. However although half the respondents from Immaculate felt that they are limited to a career choice because of the subjects offered, more than half felt socially competent. Students from Kellits High also felt socially competent after attending their school for a long time.
Haralambos, Michael and Holborn, Martin. – Sociology: Themes and Perspectives, Fourth Edition, HarperCollins Publishers. 1995. Mustapha, Nasser. – Sociology for Caribbean Students, Ian Randle Publishers. Kingston, Jamaica.2009. Reid, Tyrone. – “CAUTION: Women at Work,” The Sunday Gleaner, February 6, 2011. Reid, Tyrone. – “Jill of all Trades,” The Sunday Gleaner, February 6, 2011.