Recent report looks at male teachers in primary-junior grades

October 12, 2011
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Female v. Male Teachers

MORE MALE TEACHERS NEEDED

 

About this time last year Nipissing University Schulich School of Education professors Dr. Douglas Gosse

male teacher

Dr. Douglas Gosse

and Dr. Mike Parr have released a new report that discusses the importance of, and the barriers faced by, male teachers in the primary/junior classrooms in Ontario.

According to a 2008 Statistics Canada report, teachers are predominantly female in Ontario and Canada, with males accounting for only about 28 per cent of all teachers. The shortage of male teachers in education in Ontario is particularly marked at the primary-junior levels where females account for 90 per cent of all teachers. Similar trends exist in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain.

male teacher

Dr. Mike Parr

The study, titled The Professional Journey of Male Primary-Junior Teachers in Ontario, touches on a number of key issues that male teachers face in their professional role, including being role models, as well as teacher expectations regarding boys, and effective approaches and strategies for teaching boys. The study involved three years of research, a survey of 223 teachers, and multiple interviews. According to the report:

  • 91.3 per cent of survey respondents feel that more male primary/junior teachers should be hired
  • 12.7 per cent of survey respondents indicated that they had been suspected of inappropriate contact with pupils
  • 40.2 per cent report feeling excluded at work
  • When asked whether they felt that male primary-junior teachers have certain unique traits or qualities that they bring to early childhood education, 90.8 per cent, assert that they do, with many using familial metaphors such as “father figure” and “big brother”

The report builds on previous research showing that barriers to males becoming teachers include the widespread impression that men are less nurturing than women and, even more alarming, are widespread, discriminatory beliefs that men have pedophiliac tendencies, often conflated with widely accepted notions that most male primary-junior teachers are gay and, therefore, deviant. Conversely, some researchers, educators, and members of the public identify a need for more men in education to serve as role models, to reflect demographics of the broader population, and to enhance the learning of boys who progressively score less well than many girls on provincial, national and international achievement tests.

In this study, Gosse and Parr, offer new perspectives for contemplating the realities of male primary-junior teachers in Ontario, with recommendations for improving their workplace environment.

For more information please contact:

Bob Pipe, communications officer: 705-474-3450 ext 4528; cell: 705-471-6205, bobp@nipissingu.ca

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