In particular, the classification of the art of teaching as womens work has really hurt the position of male teachers in our education system and kept them out of the field. However, "Recuperative Masculinity Politics introduces bringing back masculinity in order to combat current stereotypes. The term refers to the fact that males must be present in the classroom at the elementary level in order to deal with the current feminization of the field" (p. 192).
Most young children develop and learn through observing the actions and words of those around them and research has shown that a male role model is essential in the school system.
Male elementary teachers can be significant role models for their students. "According to a Norms and Values Report 2011 commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development in Trinidad, and done by the ANSA McAL Psychological Research Centre, 69 per cent of women said they had children, as compared to 53 per cent of men" (Baldeosingh 2011).This underlines the fact that some children may not have a solid male figure to emulate. Children need such significant positive role models to assist in teaching them the norms and values needed in society and to fill a father role for the six hour day that they spend together. They need to interact with male teachers when they are young and growing emotionally. "Children need male role models between the ages of seven and thirteen to help them grow and identify themselves." (Erickson, 1950, 1968).Â As such it is believed that male figures in our school system are required to guide, protect, enhance and influence students in a positive and resourceful manner so that they can become successful young adults.
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The factors that have encouraged the recruitment of more male teachers surfaced from the diverse teaching styles between male and female teachers. Emphasis is placed on the teacher's perspective on internal and external methods of control and how humor and freedom fits in to it (Kesici, 2008). For example, male teachers are often humorous and encourage freedom of speech and appropriate behavior in comparison to female teachers. They commonly tell jokes, and integrate drama and discussions in the classroom which make the students laugh generating a higher level of interest in the subject being taught. "The notion that teachers' classroom behavior and interaction with pupils may be predicted on the basis of their gender underpins recent controversial campaigns to recruit more male teachers" (Francis 2008). "Male teachers are more likely than female teachers to respect and cater to children's' interest and needs, such as for more boisterous play" (Farquhar, 1997). Robinson (1988) adds however, that there is little variation the work that male and female teachers actually do, but they tend to be different in their interactions. Teachers should take into account the various needs of each student and create a balanced teaching and learning environment where children are allowed to develop holistically.
Mac Donald (2007) suggested that young boys have been affected by the decline in male teachers in their developmental years (considered to be preschool age 2 to 12 years). Furthermore he states that boys are able to gain more than just academic achievement from male teachers, but they also act as role models of manhood and masculinity. This has lead to the idea of "'Gender Match' which can be defined as the assumption that children learn at a faster rate when being taught by those of the same sex" (Sokal & Katz, 2008). Staff (2008) quoted Dr. Tanya Byron, a clinical psychologist and broadcaster, by saying: "Male primary school teachers can often be stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children that they teach. They inspire children to feel more confident, to work harder and to behave better." Simply put boys learn more when they are instructed by male teachers. Not only do men have a positive impact on academic achievement in boys but they are also essential in portraying and modeling masculinity and manhood (MacDonald, 2007). Additionally, Holland (1996) suggests that one of the major issues surrounding academic failure in young boys is the fact that they are surrounded by predominantly female teachers, therefore it is ingrained in their psyche that school work is something for girls to do. They rarely see males in their environment engaging in academic activity and hence there is conflict with their masculinity.
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Boys respond more positively and effectively to correction given by male teachers as opposed to female teachers. One might argue that this might be purely incidental. However, unless a female teacher exhibits masculine authority styles or excessive force, they appear to achieve minimal or short-lived results when dealing with especially disruptive and delinquent boys (Francis 2008). Due to this, boys are generally disengaged from academic activities because most of the female teachers just do not have the capacity, desire or energy to deal with them. Clark (2009) points out that:
"Research conducted by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) claimed that boys taught by women are more likely to disrupt lessons and neglect their studies. Fifty-one per cent of boys in primary schools said they would be more obedient in class if taught by a man and 42 per cent said they would work harder."
One argument may be that the primary authoritative figures in the lives of young boys who have become a menace in some of our schools are predominantly female teachers and/or single mothers, aunties or grandmothers. This could indicate that even with the best efforts and intentions, young boys seem to be unaffected of perturbed by these influential women in their lives.
There are a number of arguments for and against the presence of male teachers in the education system. Though, research has suggested that a balance of male and female teachers in the school system is desirable for children. More over sense of self respect, integrity, self confidence is fostered when a child has a masculine role model he/she looks up to model and interact with. Therefore, the relevant administration should attract, recruit and retain male teachers. This research paper has clearly shown that the inclusion and expansion of the number of male teachers in the school system will positively influence, create, mould and produce better all rounded students especially with respect to young male students.