Failing to get men into primary teaching: a feminist critique

Christine Skelton

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    59 Citations (Scopus)


    For several years now a number of countries have been attempting to increase their numbers of male primary teachers, yet have met with little success. Feminists/profeminists have challenged the intentions of these male teacher recruitment drives but failed to offer any interventions that might contribute to a broadening of the primary teacher population. This article seeks to redress this by identifying specific reasons why policy initiatives have failed. Through a review of the literature on teacher identities and analysis of the responses of 20 primary teachers, from a range of backgrounds, to the question 'Has your gender had any impact on your experiences and/or career as a teacher?', it emerged that teacher recruitment campaigns that focus on aspects of personal identity fail to resonate with the motivations of those who are attracted to teaching. Gender is not regarded by primary teachers as of having any particular significance to their careers, whilst minority ethnic and sexuality status are both regarded as having an impact. The conclusions drawn are that policies on teacher recruitment drives need to focus less evidently on gender and more on broader constructions and understandings of what it means to be a 'primary teacher'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-54
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Education Policy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


    • initial teacher education
    • men teachers
    • gender equity
    • masculinities
    • social justice


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