Male Teachers in feminised environments: Rejecting or reinforcing dominant constructions of masculinity?

Year: 1998

Author: Roulston, Kathryn, Mills, Martin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Calls for more male teachers are prevalent in current gender debates in education. This is particularly an issue in relation to primary school teaching. A dominant argument in this debate is that boys are often alienated from school because of a lack of male role models in the feminised culture of primary schools. Little research has investigated male teachers' accounts of their work within feminised environments. Drawing on data collected in two separate research studies in music education, this paper focuses on accounts given by male teachers about (a) practices adopted specifically to work with boys and (b) the role of the male music teacher. Analysis of this data suggests that some male music teachers may in fact adopt practices which reinforce gender stereotypical behaviour in boys. We argue that calls for increasing the number of male teachers in primary schools need also to be informed by open discussion of the underlying assumptions about masculinity which teachers themselves bring to their work.