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Effects of gender and gender role orientation on high school students' teaching perceptions and aspirations in Hong Kong

Author:
Ku, Wai Shan Watt, Helen

Year: 2009

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Abstract: Teaching is a female-dominated career in both Western and Eastern societies. While low salary and social status have been suggested by previous research as the main reasons, these cannot explain the phenomenon in Hong Kong where teachers enjoy high social status and salary. My Master of Psychology research will include samples of Hong Kong and Australian senior high school students, to contrast their gender stereotypes as measured by Bem's Sex-Role Inventory (Bem, 1981), and how these, along with their gender and gender role orientations, affect their views of what characterises a good primary and secondary teacher, likelihood to consider teaching as a career, self-efficacy, and interests in teaching.

The theoretical framework integrates Lent et al.'s Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; 1994) and research on gender stereotyping. SCCT posits that self-efficacies predict individuals' interests and intentions to persist in a given domain, which has not yet been applied to the context of teaching career choice. Research on gender stereotyping predicts that gender and conformity to gender role norms significantly shape individuals' learning experiences, which, in turn, affects self-efficacy (Toker et al., 2007). Recent research in the Chinese context has found that males and females exhibit fewer and weaker traditional gendered stereotypes (Zhang, Norvilitis, & Jin, 2001).We may reasonably infer shifting conceptions of gender stereotypes, including those associated with teachers, across cultures or time.

In the present paper, I report on the pilot study results from 120 senior high school survey participants in Hong Kong. Factor analyses and measures of Cronbach's measure of internal consistency will first explore the structure of gender stereotyped characteristics. Multiple regression analysis will examine the contributions of student gender, gender stereotypes, self-efficacy, and interest in teaching, towards intentions to teach. These findings will have theoretical and applied implications on several levels. First, for the utility of the two underpinning theoretical perspectives to the context of teaching as a career. Second, for the general gender stereotypes held within this Hong Kong sample. Third, the pilot will identify Hong Kong participants' stereotypical important primary and secondary teacher qualities, as well as the extent to which these are gender stereotyped. Finally, which factors most strongly predict to intentions to teach, and their gendered bases, will be explored.

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