Caring and Elementary Teaching: The Concerns of Male Beginning Teachers

By Hansen, Paul; Mulholland, Judith A. | Journal of Teacher Education, March-April 2005 | Go to article overview

Caring and Elementary Teaching: The Concerns of Male Beginning Teachers


Hansen, Paul, Mulholland, Judith A., Journal of Teacher Education


In 2000, we (teacher educators at an Australian university) began a study of a group of final year male elementary school teacher education students. We were interested in better understanding the lived experiences of male teachers as they pursued their careers. We have previously written about some aspects of the participants' early careers, including the reasons for their choice of elementary education, the influences of family or other factors on that decision, and their participation in the teacher education program (Mulholland & Hansen, 2003). This article focuses specifically on the participants' perceptions of male teachers as caters in a predominantly feminized profession (Brookhart & Loadman, 1996; Siefert, 1988). Our interest in this area was generated first by our reading of research literature that made problematic the link between caring and masculinity and then by our hope that an understanding of lived experience might assist us in providing support and training for other male elementary teachers in the future, so that they might anticipate and thus better cope with the issues of caring, such an essential part of elementary teaching.

CURRENT CONTEXT

Our work was conducted against a background of public debate and academic discussion about the deficit of male teachers in elementary schools (Acker, 1995; Gamble & Wilkins, 1997; Klecker & Loadman, 1999; Wood & Hoag, 1993). Many authors, both populist and academic, have advocated encouraging more men to become teachers. An examination of the research literature shows that male teachers are called on to fill a number of demanding and sometimes contradictory roles. However, men as carers emerges as both a major theme and a subtler underpinning of the rationales provided for encouraging men to teach younger children.

The public debate has been led by such authors as Biddulph (2002) who, in his publication Manhood, devoted an entire chapter, entitled "Making School Good for Boys," to the issue of boys' academic underperformance, bullying, and poor communication and conflict-resolution skills in school contexts. At the conclusion to the chapter, Biddulph emphasized the importance of "recruiting more of the right kind of men, especially into primary education" (p. 133). The right kind of man, as described by Biddulph, has a deep inner manhood learned from his father and is strong, brave, and protective; he will be able to counter the alienation experienced by boys as a result of the "inadvertent femininity of schools" (p. 129). Biddulph said that learning in schools emphasizes and rewards "quiet, co-operative, verbal, fine-motor, indoor, artistic and passive kinds of activity" (p. 129) and needs to be complemented with learning styles that incorporate movement, vigor, "hands-on," and natural activity that goes beyond four wails for both girls and boys alike. However, he warned that male teachers might not be adequate role models for boys if they themselves have never been mentored appropriately by older men. Biddulph described the relationship that currently exists between boys and some male teachers who lack "fatherly or nurturing qualities" as "the damaged leading the damaged" (p. 128) and advocated special training for male teachers.

In academic literature, reasons advanced for there being urgency in recruiting more men into elementary teaching are varied: to restore to elementary teaching the gender balance and diversity reflected in the wider society (Brookhart & Loadman, 1996; Montecinos & Nielsen, 1997); to offer children a more balanced education through a recognition that women and men operate differently as classroom teachers (DeCorse & Vogtle, 1997; Gerson, 1993); to provide elementary school children with male teachers who model learning as acceptable masculine activity and who work cooperatively and respectfully with women as equals (DeCorse & Vogtle, 1997; Montecinos & Nielsen, 1997); to have male teachers as substitute or surrogate fathers to increasing numbers of children from homes where the father is absent (Coulter & McNay, 1993; Gamble & Wilkins, 1997); and to help to break down traditional gender stereotyping, particularly as expressed by boys (Mancus, 1992).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Caring and Elementary Teaching: The Concerns of Male Beginning Teachers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.