Students And Their Views On Teachers Gender Education Essay

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In this chapter, the data is collected and the findings are discussed and elaborated. The discussion of the findings is presented in three sub-topics which are based on the research questions:

1. Who does the student regard as more effective teacher?

2. Do students expectation differs based on their teachers' gender?

3. Do students prefer teachers with the same gender or the opposite gender?

This chapter also presented the recommendations regarding the problems and for future use, based on the findings found. The study is concluded at the end of this chapter.

5.1 Summary of the Findings

5.1.1 Research Question 1: Teacher's Effectiveness Based on Gender

Is there asignificant difference between male and female teachers?

For the first research question, the researcher studied on the students' perception towards teacher's teaching effectiveness across six elements, which are the amount of homework, motivation, concern on performance, classroom control, making class interesting, and students' own view of their own performance based on the teacher's gender. These six elements are used as the framework to show teacher's level of teaching effectiveness, and level of competence in teaching.

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According to Kemp and Hall (1992), the major research finding is that student achievement is related to teacher competence in teaching. Evidence from teacher-effectiveness studies indicates that student engagement in learning is to be valued above curriculum plans and materials. Research on teacher effectiveness has yielded a wealth of understanding about the impact that teacher ability has on student growth. Teaching competency is mostly based on level of experience and educational background of the teacher.

According to Eggen and Kauchak (2001), positive teachers' attitudes are fundamental to effective teaching. A teacher must be interesting. That is the teacher must work his students into such a state of interest in what the teacher is going to teach him that every other object of attention is banished from his mind. This study is focusing on students' perception in the aspect of teacher's gender, on how teaching effectiveness differ based on their teachers' gender.

Based on the findings, students of both genders perceived female teachers as a more effective teacher compared to male teachers. Female teacher compared better than male teacher, in all elements except for one. Female teacher is considered better in making the class more interesting, show more concern towards students' performance, gives more motivation to students, and gives more homework than male teacher. Based on the findings, male teacher rated better only in terms of classroom management. Male teachers tend to be more authoritative and instrumental whereas female teachers tend to be more supportive and expressive (Meece, 1987; Freeman & McElhinny, 1996).

This finding is somehow in line with a study done by Centra & Gaubatz (2000) where female students gave higher ratings to female instructors on three of eight scales for all disciplines combined, while male students gave male instructors higher ratings on only one scale, course organization and planning. Male and female students did not differ in their rankings of male teachers. For the total sample of classes, when more favorable ratings were given, they were largely by female students to female instructors.

Based on the findings, it is interesting to note that female students significantly believed they performed better if taught by teacher of the same gender (female), but performed badly if taught by teacher of different gender (male). In contrary, male students are divided where there is no significant difference if they are to be taught by male of female teachers.

Similar to Dee (2006), he found that girls have better educational outcomes when taught by women. It suggests that female educational outcomes will be better when they are taught by female teachers. Female teachers can support and encourage female students to successfully complete their studies and also they listen to any problems and provide guidance and advices when necessary.

It is no wonder why majority of both male and female respondents agreed that they performed better in class when being taught by female teacher, since most of the characteristics of an effective teacher are shown by the female teachers. Male teachers are considered as more serious and lack the motherly touch when compared to the female teachers. Since male teacher is more serious and masculine, they are considered better in managing the classroom compared to the females.

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Disciplinary issue can be an important element in making the classroom more engaging and interesting. Class with a majority of boys could be a problem for a female teacher to control, since the study on cross-tabulation analysis suggests that, male students considered female teacher lacks the authority in the classroom, as opposed to female students' view. Male teacher are seen as more able to control the classroom. According to Bennett (1982), students do not have different standards of reference for male and female instructors, but women are perceived to be less authoritarian and more charismatic.

Student evaluations are a common, if flawed, method for teachers to receive feedback about their teaching. Research has shown that students' evaluations can be significantly influenced by the gender of their teachers. Many studies reveal that students tend to rate female teachers differently than male teachers (Whitworth, Price & Randall. 2002; Basow & Silberg, 1987; Goodwin & Stevens, 1993; Tartro, 1995).

Therefore, students may have biased perceptions of the differences between male and female teachers. But, there is also a possibility that students are accurately assessing the difference between teaching styles that is attributable to the gender of the teacher (Centra & Gaubatz, 2000).

5.1.2 Research Question 2: Students' Expectation towards Teacher Based on Gender

For the second research question, the findings are to answer the question on whether Students have different expectation towards their teacher based on gender.

5.1.2.1 Does Students have Different Expectation?

The finding indicates that students do have different expectation towards their teacher based on the gender of the teacher. Students agreed that they based their expectation and formed different perception based on the teacher's gender. This is in line with the findings by Kelley Massoni (2004), where the impact of gender in teaching evaluations often is related to students' differing gendered expectations of their women and men teachers.

The answers extracted in the open-ended section of questionnaire suggest that the difference in expectation is based on several factors. Some of the factors pointed out are teaching styles, attitudes, and personalities. These factors are used by the students to assess their teacher's level of teaching effectiveness and what they expect of them in the classroom.

Female teachers are looked by the students as being more effective teachers because of their personality and attitude, where they are softer, understanding, and kind. Research findings on teachers' attitudes (Brunning et al., 1999), established the following facts: Teachers characteristics such as personal teaching efficacy, modeling and enthusiasm, caring and high expectation promote learners' motivation. These same characteristics are also associated with increase in students' achievement (academic performance). Learning takes place with ease and faster under teachers that are well organized. The way teachers interact with students influences their motivation and attitudes toward school.

The findings also suggest that, for the male teacher, they are looked by their students as being more knowledgeable, less emotional, less bias, and more relaxed. According to Kelley Massoni (2004), students expect male teachers as being more knowledgeable than women, and are assumed to be more "objective".

A study by Basow (1995) also revealed that students perceived female instructors to be more sensitive and considerate of student ideas whereas male instructors were believed to be more knowledgeable.

5.1.2.2 Students' Expectation

Based on the overall findings of the likert-scale section, students put higher expectation towards female teachers compared to male teachers, especially in terms of interpersonal skills, such as being more supportive, passionate with teaching, easier to approach and interact, providing more opportunity for discussion, and interest to help individual learners.

While most of the statements in the questionnaire given are highly expected of female teachers, male teachers are slightly more expected in terms of being more knowledgeable, and giving clearer instructions compared to female teachers.

For the rest of the list, which making learners interested and being credible and believable, both male and female teachers scored equal.

According to Ashley & Lee (2003), boys consistently identify the following factors as critical in the kinds of teacher they work well for and respect:

• Firm, but fair: able to control the class well - to inject humour but regain attention quickly

• Good subject knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject

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• The ability to explain things clearly and with patience

This is in accordance with the findings of the study, where male students put higher expectation than female students in areas where a teacher should be an expert in the subject being taught, and expect them to give clear instructions in the classroom. But some of the findings are somehow in contrary to the study of Ashley & Lee, where the male students put less expectation for teachers to show enthusiasm and to have sense of humour, especially towards male teachers.

A reason why female teachers are highly considered of these characteristics is probably because of gender stereotype or role model based on gender. It is about how they perceive on how gender specific role should be played in social interaction, where male should be more serious and knowledgeable, and female should be more caring and open.

5.1.3 Research Question 3: Students' Preferences on Teacher Based on Gender

For the third research question, the focus will be on students' perception on their interaction towards teacher of different gender. Interaction between teacher and students are important where learning environment should be a two-way communication. If there is an art essential to good teaching, it is that of communication. Level of interaction can be an indication of how well the teaching lesson is being carried out by a teacher. A lesson without interactivity might hampered students' involvement and performance in the class.

The findings suggest that students are slightly afraid to ask questions during the learning period when the teacher is the opposite gender of them. Based on the answers given by the students, it is because they are shy towards their teacher, and afraid of being scolded and embarrassed by the teacher.

According to Covington (1992), students engage in some behaviors considered detrimental to learning, such as avoiding seeking help, in order to protect self-worth. Situations in which students are likely to be judged negatively by adults or peers, threaten self-worth, and result in students' avoidance of these situations. Thus, students may avoid asking questions if they feel that doing so would demonstrate a lack of knowledge or ability.

The findings also indicate that students are able to interact easily in the classroom when the teacher is of the same gender as them. Some of the reasons stated are because of the level of understanding, comfortable to talk, and easier to communicate. Having teacher of the same gender can make a difference on the level of interactivity in the classroom. Students admitted that they are more comfortable putting forth their opinions because they have someone that they can relate to in terms of gender. According to Holmlund and Sund (2005), teachers are the role models for the students. If students identify themselves more with same-sex role models, it is possible that performance will be enhanced when students have a teacher of their own gender.

According to Dee (2006), in a class taught by a man, girls were more likely to say the subject was not useful for their future and they were less likely to look forward to the class or to ask questions. Therefore, female students have less motivation to be active in the classroom and that will affect their performance in class.

For the last findings, open ended questions are used in the questionnaire to extract information on why they prefer teacher of specific gender in the classroom, and which gender of teacher teaches them more effectively. Unfortunately, only half of the respondents answered the questions for this part. Therefore, it might not represent the respondents' general view on the issue.

Based on the open ended questions answered, researcher found several factors that constitute how students show their preferences towards teacher based on the gender. Several key factors include communication skills, the level of interactivity in the classroom, level of understanding, passion on teaching, and being creative. The most important factor given by students based on its frequency is communication skill.

5.2 Recommendations

The findings of this study are supported by the previous research, especially in terms of students' expectation towards their teacher, what constitutes an effective teacher, and why learning outcomes are better when teacher and students are of the same gender. Having analyzed students' perception on this issue, researcher have come up with some recommendations.

Like some of the previous recommendation made by researchers before this study, a gender specific classroom could be one of the way to utilized the teacher-student gender compatibility. Education already moving towards applying learner-centered , but does schools really practice it? Learner-centered in the eyes of the school might be different in the eyes of the student. Focus should be on the students, therefore there is a need to consider what students thinks on what is best for them. Giving them a say on teacher's gender they prefer could be a controversial issue especially teachers of different gender might be offended by the results. Nevertheless, it is for the betterment of the students learning process. Dr. Leonard Sax of the National Association for Single-Sex Public Education suggests there are a large number of reasons why males and females should be separated during class time at school. He points out two of these reasons as he reveals that there are gender differences in the brain and gender differences in learning styles.

Gender specific classrooms could cater these two different factors by having two different brains and two different teaching styles, being put into their own group. Males tend to be deductive in their conceptualizations, while females prefer inductive exercises (Gurian, 2001). In addition, boys tend to do better with abstract reasoning than girls (Gurian, 2001). Girls often prefer to learn using manipulatives and objects, whereas boys can learn much more easily from chalkboard instructions. This difference could explain why in this study, male and female students have different view on looking at what makes a class interesting, based on teacher's gender. In gender specific classrooms, teachers can easily adapt their teaching styles, to accommodate these differences in the learning styles of males and females. Gender specific classrooms also afford the opportunity for educators to tailor the learning environment to suit the majority of students. They allow the teacher to organize a lesson in such a way that the students may feel more connected to it and take much more of an interest in what they are learning. This connection creates an atmosphere in which students are much more focused on their tasks and less disruptive to the learning of others.

A gender specific classroom, or a single-sex school is not a new thing within the local school system, but since previous studies had shown positive remarks on its application, ministry of education should make an in-depth comparison in terms of students' achievement between co-educational system and single-sex education. From the study, the ministry should come up with a recommendation whether to make a drastic change or not. A change is needed not only in terms of producing academic high-achievers, but also to produce well disciplined students. With lack of male teachers in our system of education, and increase of discplinary cases among students, could gender-specific classroom be the key to solve this problem? But, are gender specific classrooms always beneficial, especially in different school settings? Although there are positive changes concluded in gender specific classrooms, previous researches done on the implementation of it are somehow inconclusive. One way to reduce the risk, if there is any, is by placing teacher to a classroom where the students are of the majority of the same gender as the teacher. Instead of segregating the students altogether based on gender, male teacher is placed to a classroom where the majority of the students are male. Nevertheless, every school has its own culture and, must decide what the best practices for that school are.

In the issue of gender, teacher-student communication is essential in the classroom setting. Clear communication is needed if the students are to understand what the lesson is all about. Teacher need to use several techniques to improve the clarity of the information they present or the explanation they give to the students. Teacher also need to be aware of any biasness occurred during the classroom. Being a reflective practitioner can be a good way for a teacher to be aware and keep track of what is happening in the classroom.

Clear and precise communication lies at the very heart of teacher effectiveness. Effective communication requires that teachers possess a thorough knowledge of both their subject-matter and their students. Good communication helps build a bridge between the two, enabling teachers to make subject-matter understandable to their students. According to Shulman (1987), poor communication can make learning even the most simple and straightforward subject-matter far more difficult. Poor communication is the most likely caused of the student's lament.

In order to encourage the students to involve in a discussion and be more expressive in the classroom, teacher needs to know how to respond and how to give proper feedback. Shy students sometimes are reluctant to ask questions because they are afraid of getting scolded or being embarrassed. Teacher needs to be an effective communicator, be able to engage students with the classroom and at the same time reduce their sense of defensiveness and make them feel they are part of the classroom dynamic.

Apart from teacher, there are many parties or units within ministries of education and educational systems that are involved in the improvement of children's cognitive, affective and social development. All of them should be concerned and can be involved in increasing teacher effectiveness. However, it is the unit which is responsible for curriculum development and teacher training that the major concern falls.

There seems to be inconsistency in any attempt to increase teacher effectiveness. By right, there should be a greater knowledge base for improving teaching than ever before. Even so, there is still a continuous struggle to find ways of helping teachers become aware of this and apply this knowledge in their classrooms. Having standardized concept of teaching effectiveness could be one of the ways to solve the disparity between teaching effectiveness and teacher's gender. There should be a systematic procedures and understanding of the term 'teaching effectiveness' in school system. It should then be used as a guideline for teachers to be able to improvise themselves in making improvement of the classroom environment.

One way to improve teacher's teaching effectiveness is through pre-service and in-service teacher education. Having a change of culture in the educational system is not an easy matter and needs a concerted effort on the part of those responsible for teaching education. Operating the pre-service programme within a framework based on what is best for the students, not the teachers. So, meeting the needs on what is best of the students and not those of the teachers would be a useful first step. Helping prospective and practicing teachers to see things through the eyes of their students as they design their learning units, establish their classrooms, deliver their lessons and communicate with their students will increase the likelihood that they will become increasingly effective in the classroom.

Educational planners and school administrators can have a positive impact on the quality of communication between teachers and students in at least two areas: teacher selection and teacher evaluation. Measure of oral and written communication should be incorporated into the teacher selection process. Short essays on relevant educational matters can be used to gather information regarding competence in written communication, as well as knowledge and beliefs concerning those matters. Well structures interviews can be used in a similar manner, with emphasis on oral communication competence. When possible, asking prospective teachers to demonstrate how they would teach would provide additional insight into the teachers' competence in communicating.

Administrators and supervisors should regularly check on the quality of teachers' communication. When considering assessment of communication skills, however, it is wise to remember that clarity lies in the mind of the beholder. In this case, the beholder is the student. Therefore, there should be an involvement from the students' part in assessing the teacher. Making a good instrument for the students to assess the teacher is important in order to have an accurate understanding on the teacher's ability.

Within schools, the most important thing is to build a school culture that emphasizes excellence and which encourage meaningful change to the school system. As Fullan (2001) suggested, the focus in school reforms needs to move away from structural change towards changing the schools and their culture. This shift of focus requires putting greater emphasis on relationships and values.

The catalyst for change in building such a culture is the principal. Leadership for change requires a bias for action, a sense of urgency and a combination of pressure and support (Fullan, 2001). It means involving all teachers in the change process, and individual by individual. When all teachers involves in the change, it leads to mutual understanding and commitment. Understanding provides the basis for the change, whereas commitment provides the urgency for the changes.

Finally, questioning on the changes. How is the change going to take place? Who is responsible for what aspects? What happens when a problem is encountered? How will anybody know the change has taken place? Answers to questions such as these help those involved to understand the change process.

Nevertheless, this research used a small pool of students and the quantitative data used in this research is not adequate to take the findings as a hard facts. Personal in-depth interviews can help complement the findings in this regard. A well designed study and more structured techniques in observation plus quantitative analysis of the classrooms can be more fruitful in combination with observations of longer time spans.

5.3 Conclusion

In conclusion, students' perception towards the teacher is as valuable as teacher's perception towards the students. Having both perceptions from the two sides can pave a way on how to improve classroom quality and learning process. Student's perception is critical and should be taken into consideration for the benefit of the educational system.

The findings on their perception of teaching effectiveness and expectations of teacher based on gender is an evidence of how gender biasness works in the school system. Students are indeed, baised in looking at teacher's level of teaching effectiveness and what do they expect of them in the classroom. But it is never an issue whereas teacher's is doing the same thing in the classroom. Probably, students are doing their own pygmalion effect towards the teacher, where they are trying to fulfill their own prohecy, in hoping that the teacher changed and do what the students are expected them to do. Based on this study, it suggests that male teachers should improve on their interpersonal skills. Male teachers are lacking in many aspects, and is lagging behind the female teachers in terms of being an effective teacher. As such, ministry of education should look into this matter and look on how they can improve teaching skills and teaching methods of the male teachers.

Student's preferences of teacher according to gender could be a reason for change in teacher's placement across the classroom. Students' suggestions and opinions on this study should not be ignored, as the students themselves might have hold the key to their success all the while, but the system are the one who is closing the door tight. With the inbalanced on number of teachers in terms of gender, this disparity might be the factor on why there should be a focus on gender issue. Even if the issue of biasness is there, the students is no better in knowing the importance of their survival in the school system.

Therefore, this issue should be further investigated in a bigger scale to eliminate limitations and weaknesses faced in this research. Bigger pool data and multiple schools from both rural and urban areas could make a better and more accurate findings on this issue.