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The Shortage Of Male Teachers In Schools

1369 words - 5 pages

For the benefit of male students, there needs to be more males teaching in schools. Boys need male role models in school - especially when coming from homes with no fathers - and more than two thirds of Australia's teachers are female. There has been much concern about boys not performing as well as girls throughout the school years, especially in English and humanities. Views of masculinity are distorted by a lack of male role models, resulting in problems for male students. So unfair views of teaching, portraying it as a female profession, need to change so boys can succeed further in school.Steve Biddulph (1994) suggests boys aged six to fourteen are very much in need of strong male role models in school. His studies have shown that 80% of children with behavioural problems are boys, and 90% of children with learning problems are boys (Biddulph, 1994, p. 6). Victorian Board of Studies statistics show that girls are achieving higher average grades than boys in almost every VCE subject, with boys dominating grades of D and below (Messina, 1996). Biddulph (1997) says this may be due to 'the inadvertent femininity of schools' and boys need to be shown that 'learning is a masculine activity' (p. 128). One of the two qualities needed in male teachers is 'a mixture of warmth and sternness', to support the students but not put up with any nonsense. The other is 'undefensiveness': the ability to lead the classroom but not threaten the masculinity of male students. Biddulph (1994) says when boys misbehave it is an unconscious expression of 'father-hunger' (p. 146), and they are demonstrating their need to be valued and disciplined by male figures. This cannot be done by female teachers, thus furthering the need for more male teachers.A lack of male teachers could go some way towards explaining why boys are less inclined to succeed at school. Because most teachers are female, boys are not getting the male role models they need, and academic work is viewed largely as a female activity. Boys are not willing to sacrifice their masculinity and therefore do not engage in academic work as readily as girls, for fear of being seen as feminine. Christine Skelton says the regular routines and practices in schools favour females (2001, p. 35), and boys' lack of achievement compared to girls could be due to primary schools being feminised (2001, p. 137). This is seen to be a result of teaching being seen as a female profession, with more females than males teaching in primary schools, and the only way this will be able to change is to have more males teaching in classrooms. Boys need to see academic activities performed by male role models to believe that learning is not a feminine pastime. Because with learning seen as a feminine activity, boys are far less likely to engage in it; and therefore will suffer in their grades.Gwenda Sanderson (1995) finds that boys only read half as much as girls, and consequently are disadvantaged in this area. The boys are no less...

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