Assumption Around Gender in Teaching
This section will examine how male elementary teachers deal with assumptions around gender and how that constructs and shapes their performed identities In Malaby’s study, these males employ the role-model theory as they embrace “the nurturing, supporting aspects of being a role model while resisting categorization as either strongly feminine or masculine” (Malaby).
Teaching has often been criticized for largely becoming a woman-dominated profession and traditional cultural stereotypes surrounding male teachers can be discouraging to males who consider entering this workforce. There are common assumptions that young boys do worse than young girls in elementary because of the lack of same-gender role models and predominately female workforce (Split). Malaby found that several male teachers actively reject the masculine and feminine identity constructions that confront them. Instead they adopt an alternative unembodied gender equity, described by Haase (2010), in which they work to serve as masculine role models to students.
Research has shown that male teachers in elementary settings are exhibiting substitute framings of masculinity to their students by adopting both nurturing and arguably stereotypically “feminize...
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... teaching to maximize student learning and enable students to experience and participate in their schooling in democratic ways” (Slater). He can also argue to parents such as Miss Hanson, that in practicing a less authoritarian teaching style, “teachers who make connections with students take the critical first step in cultivating an inclusive environment” which is an ideal setting for student’s cognitive, behavioral, and social emotional learning.
If relationships are “the building blocks of collaboration” (Slater 2001, 211), and if “relationships matter for learning” (Darling Hammond 1997), I support Mr. Duncan’s decision to incorporate relationship-driven teaching. I believe it is essential for teachers to use a relationship-first approach, such as Mr. Duncan, to help maximize student cognitive and behavioral abilities and cultivate community within the classroom.
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