Primary school teachers in uk
Chapter 1 – Introduction
This piece of work is designed to examine male primary school teachers; the work that they do, their supposed under representation in UK based primary schools and the apparent feminisation of the profession.
Within this body of work there are various main aims which are to be met. Firstly an extensive examination of the factors that result in an under representation of men will be undertaken.
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Within this aim reasons for men not becoming primary school teachers that are provided in relevant research and literature will be critically analysed with the intention of giving a thorough multi-factoral explanation as to why men aren’t performing teaching jobs within the primary school sector. The second aim to be examined is to assess the effectiveness and purpose the role of a male primary teacher plays in the development of a child. There is a wide acceptance that the male primary school teacher is important in providing a male role model in a modern child’s life (Francis & Skelton, 2005). This view amongst others will be queried as will the view that a male primary teacher can provide something that a female primary teacher cannot. The final primary aim is to look at the profession of primary school teaching historically and the role that the division of labour and patriarchy had on the shaping of primary school teaching. Within this the development of gender specific roles and jobs will be looked at along with the division of labour and the importance that patriarchy had in shaping these roles. Each of these aims will be divided into various sub-sections looking at specific points within each aim. Through the use of previous works, research and literature on each subject contrasting views will be critically analysed with the idea of coming to a conclusion and offering possible instruction regarding various facets that arise with the subject of the male primary school teacher.
A lack of male primary school teachers is common all over the western world with many western countries driving to recruit more of what appears to be an endangered species (Skelton, 2003). There are many contributing factors for this being the case including the fear for men that being part of such a childcare profession could lead to them being branded as a paedophile (March bank & Let herby, 2007). Since the development of the primary teaching role the preference has been to hire women rather than men as women were seen as more natural at aiding the development of a child and historically women were often hired due to them being very much a cheaper option (Quartararo, 1995). The modern assumption is that by not providing a sufficient male role model within the primary school setting that children and particularly boys are being put at a disadvantage (Wilson, 2006).
Such a subject as the primary school teacher is important in the sense that the type of teacher a child has can impact on the child’s future development both academically and in future life chances (Leonhardt, 2010). It has even been described previously as the most important job in the world (Teachers First, 2008). Although this may be a slightly biased viewpoint should a male primary school teacher improve the academic attainment of those currently underachieving (such as those in the lower social class strata or boys in general) then the implementation of more male primary school teachers is important in ensuring every child is given the best opportunity to reach their potential and the drive by many countries to hire more men as primary school teachers is the right thing to do. Equally if the general consensus is that a male primary teacher does not offer anything that a female primary school teacher could offer in terms of teaching style or relationships with the children that they are teaching then reasons for some children’s underachievement are yet unidentified and pushing the recruitment of male primary school teachers may not be the best way to go forward in terms of improving teaching and the educational attainment of the child within the primary school sector. The subject of teaching will always hold great importance within a society as it aids in shaping the lives of those children who are being taught. If the teaching of children is at the best quality as it can be so will the quality of learning. The general aim of this work is to not only outline as to why men are not opting to teach in primary schools but also to assess whether trying to tempt more males into the job is beneficial. Would having more male teachers benefit the pupils that are being taught and will providing more male teachers mess with the division of labour that has been a part of UK life for years in a negative way?
Personally the subject of male primary teachers is of great interest. A profession that may end up becoming my career, the role that the male primary teacher plays is of great importance to me. As personally I chose to pursue a career with children it interests me that the vast majority of my peers on the same degree course are women. The reasons as to why many males opt against taking a role in teaching or working with younger children while still being willing to work with children at secondary school level is also of great interest. Much of what I have learned regarding the taking care and teaching of younger children has been dictated to me by women; with this being the case whether a male does have an impact on the way a child learns or develops can be questioned. Should a male be practicing the same teaching methods as women are then does the gender of the teacher actually make a difference on how the child react to the teacher and in turn how the child learns. Why primary school teaching has been characterised as a typically female profession is also something that interests me. Why is it that a woman would historically be considered more suited to a job than a male like myself. Is this simply because women are the child bearers, or is it as a result of gender stereotyping stemming back to times where the patriarch took on a ‘breadwinner’ role while women took care of children or is it due to other contributing factors?
Chapter 2: To examine and critically analyze the under representation of men in primary schools
2.1 – Introduction to the Chapter
Within this chapter the number of males working in primary schools in the modern day will be examined. As well as looking at the statistics the reasons for men opting out of teaching in the primary school sector will be identified and critically analysed in an attempt to offer explanations for the reported under representation of men in primary schools today.
2.2 – A Feminised Profession?
‘No country should pride itself on its educational system if the teaching profession has become predominantly a world of women.’ (Langeveld, 1963 cited in Lyon & Migniuolo, 1989). But this is what appears to be the case with the primary school sector of the UK education system. In 2009 statistics provided (Guardian, 2009) showed that a total of 4,587 which is more than a quarter of primary schools in the UK operated with solely female teachers. In some counties including Lancashire, Cumbria, Hampshire, Essex, Derbyshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk there are more than 100 schools which are taught by just women teachers. In 2010 of 567,817 teachers were registered in the UK of which 75.1% are women, up from 74.4% in 2009 with the numbers of women working in schools increasing year on year since 2006. In terms of males 24.9% of the 567,817 are teachers, down from 25.6% in 2009. In terms of primary schools 12.5% of the teachers are men, down from 13% in 2009. (General Teaching Council cited in Telegraph, 2010). The expression of panic regarding the small numbers of male primary school teachers is nothing new as such feeling was similar during the rise of feminisation in the 1950’s and 1960’s (Acker 1994 cited in Drudy,2005)
The possible reasons for such underrepresentation are vast. One reason may be that historically primary school teaching has been viewed as a feminised profession. Coffey and Delemont (2000) argue that primary school teaching being a feminine profession is a view that has a ‘long history’ and that since the establishment of the state education system in 1870 the teaching of younger children has consistently been seen as a job for women. So the idea that different sexes are more suited to certain jobs is not uncommon and there are various jobs around that are considered to be typical for women. Primary school teaching and nursing are just 2 examples of this. Within these kinds of professions there are certain attributes that are thought to be important in order to be good at said job. Primary teaching in particular is thought to require ‘emotional labour’ something that is said to be much more common in women than in men (Hochschild, 1983). This in turn poses various problems to those men who do work in primary schools; male teachers’ competence when working in primary school settings may be questioned should they not show levels of emotional labour that some women do. The same may occur should the male teacher begin to show signs of typical masculinity, something that is rather uncommon in primary schools. (Connell & Messerschmidt 2005) In primary teaching men are in somewhat of a difficult situation, while in some cases their masculinity can give them an advantage in originally obtaining the job such displays of masculinity while in the job can be frowned upon by those women already working in the feminised job of primary education and leave them alienated from their colleagues (Allan, 1993). Should a male teacher however display the kind of attributes and attitudes currently associated with those working as a primary school teacher however then these attributes could be interpreted as feminine and the man may find their sexuality becoming questioned (Sargent, 2001) something that may well prevent a man from thinking about teaching young children. The process by which sex is directly linked to feminine or masculine activities can lead to ‘sexism or sex stereotyping’ (Drudy 2005) something that may well be present within primary schools nowadays. An example of this is the way that male teachers are perceived; since the end of World War 2 the idea of men as teachers has been viewed as ‘out of place’ (Kaplan, 1974 cited in Robinson & Hobson, 2004) and even morally questionable (Tubbs 1946 cited in National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1980). Currently it appears that the feminisation of the sector is as a result of various conditions including not just the sheer number of women working as primary school teachers but also the strengthened feminine interpretation of various facets in the job and the domestic ideology that comes with it. (Drudy, 2005) These are all things that could discourage men from pursuing a career in primary school teaching.
Despite the apparent effect of a feminised profession preventing men from teaching in primary schools the whole premise behind describing primary schools as feminised has been questioned. If a primary school were to be considered unquestionably feminised then there would have to be various identifying factors rather than simply because of the sheer number of female staff at the setting. If we are to believe previous works on female teachers then one would expect to observe a non-hierarchical, democratic management system (Powney & Weiner, 2000) with agendas within the school that are free to flexibility (Ozga, 1990). There is an argument that rather than the primary school environment being best suited to female teachers that infact it is becoming a more masculinised environment to work in (Mahony & Hextall, 2000) particularly in reference to the management structure in that there is a hierarchy of staff rather than a democracy of such and in terms of how the schools in general appear to be structured; in an inflexible way based on routine and a fixed way of doing things (Mahony & Hextall). If it were the case that the profession was becoming more suited to those with masculine tendencies then one would expect there to be a marked increase in men opting to teach in primary schools, with current statistics indicating otherwise (General Teaching Council cited in Telegraph, 2010) there must be other reasons as to why men are choosing not to become primary school teachers.
2.3 – The Social Status of Teachers
Other potential reasons limiting the participation of males teaching in primary schools are things such as low social status and relatively low wage (Armitage, 1999). It is also claimed that ideas of the role a teacher has is shaped by the experience that each of us has when we were pupils (Campbell & StNeill, 1994); with this in mind some people hold the view that primary school teachers have it easy. This view is put forward because some think that teachers have fairly short working hours similar to those of the students and as such aren’t as respected as they perhaps should be. The perceived long holidays in comparison to other jobs also has an effect on the social status of those working as primary teachers as some think that because they have relatively long holidays in comparison to other jobs that primary teachers ‘have it easy’ (Campbell & StNeill, 1994). Primary school teachers it would appear hold even less social prestige than those working in secondary schools or other settings of education. This is because of the perception that those working with younger children do not have to work very hard and actually merely oversee play. (Rumbold, 1988 cited in Campbell & StNeill) This along with the old saying ‘He who can does, he who cannot, teaches’ (George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman “Maxims for Revolutionists”, 1903) results in a consensus engrained in UK national identity that those who teach are deficient in some way (Campbell & StNeill, 1994), to be viewed in such a manner will not be an attractive prospect for those men perhaps thinking of becoming a primary school teacher.
2.4 – Male Teachers and the Fear of Being Branded a Paedophile
Although on the face of things it would appear that job satisfaction and contentment for those working as primary school teachers is at a relatively low level due to low social status and relatively low wage in comparison to other jobs there are various findings that indicate otherwise. The National Foundation for Educational Research (2002) conducted research into the job satisfaction of teachers in comparison to the job satisfaction of people in other jobs. The findings showed that although there is a certain amount of dissatisfaction towards the pay that they receive and generally higher levels of stress amongst teachers they still enjoy more job satisfaction. Primary school teachers imparticular seemed to enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction and job security than not only those within other professions but also when compared to those teachers who work in secondary schools. Those teachers who do work in primary schools were also found to be more positive about the relationships that they form within their workplace with peers and were also found to be rather less disgruntled about the level of pay that they receive for doing their job (Sturman, 2002).
It would appear that one of the major reasons for the modern day male deciding not to enter teaching at primary school level is through the fear of being branded a ‘child abuser’ or a ‘paedophile’. Due to high profile cases of child abduction and cases of paedophilia In the UK over recent years men are beginning to become more cautious with regards to spending time with children (Clark, 2010). A survey conducted by Play England (2010) discovered that in the UK 44% of men would be hesitant to help a child in need due to the risk of being seen as a child abductor or child abuser (Play England, 2010) this is perhaps due to guidelines set by the NSPCC advising men not to approach lost children for the aforementioned reasons (FACT, 2006). This fear may well be having an impact on the number of men opting to work in primary schools. John Bangs who is the assistant secretary for the national union of teachers argued that men are being put off by an increasing suspicion surrounding men who teach in primary schools, Bangs stated ‘people have become much more suspicious of men who want to work with children’ and that ‘these perceptions are absurd but men are reluctant to be stigmatised in this way’ (Guardian, 2008). This fear of being branded in such a way is something that many male primary teachers currently working have to deal with. During a study with primary school teachers Sargent (2001) found that many of the male teachers’ gripes with the profession was that of being labelled as a child abuser or as gay due to the work that they do. During the research it was found that the majority of respondents expressed a concern when coming into physical contact with the children that they teach. This is through the fear that when making physical contact with the child their intentions may be misconstrued and as a result may find themselves being accused of touching the child inappropriately or being homosexual. While female primary teachers can often come into close proximity with a child and even make physical contact with a child without much being said. Men on the other hand feel as though they are unable to have contact with a child due to the way that they may be viewed by others and through fear of the possible controversy that may ensue (Sargent, 2001). As so eloquently put by one of the respondents during the study conducted by Sargent ‘Women’s laps are places of love, men’s laps are places of danger’. This fear may well be having a negative effect on the teaching performance of those men as they cannot meet the social and emotional needs as effectively as their female counterparts (Sargent,2001). Although these fears of child abuse within schools are largely unfounded partly due to current stringent criminal record checking prior to teachers taking a job it is easy to see why some males may be hesitant about taking a job working with children and is also understandable for those not wanting to work in primary schools due to the difficulties that these men face within their role.
2.5 – The Preference of Men to Teach in Secondary Schools
The reason for the underrepresentation of men in primary schools may not be due to mistreatment in primary schools but rather a preference towards teaching in secondary schools. While statistics show that the number of male teachers in primary schools in dwindling in secondary schools disparity between the genders of secondary school teachers is not as evident as the split is much more balanced (Office for National Statistics, 2007). Rather than simply a preference of working with older children David Hanson, the chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools argued that more men would opt for primary school teaching if there were opportunities to teach singular subjects similar to how secondary schools are taught. Hanson argued that teaching individual subjects meant that lessons become more ‘rigorous’ and that teachers taking part in teaching singular subjects take more pride in their job, it was also stated that ‘there seems to be something to do with men being able to attach a sense of status to the subject’ and that ‘subject specialism seems to have an appeal for men.’ (Davis, 2010)
To argue that there is simply one reason why men choose not to teach in primary schools would be far too simplistic. The reasons for not teaching in a primary school could be specific to each individual. For example while one person may opt out of primary school teaching due to the lack of specialised subjects another may opt against it out of fear of being branded a child abuser. Reasons may also be due to various facets of the job that are unappealing. Despite the perceived multi factoral reasons for opting out of primary school teaching it may after all just come down to money. In 2009 52% more men chose to pursue a career in primary school teaching. The cause of this was attributed to the recent recession and subsequent insecurity of some other jobs where cuts were frequent or where promotion was difficult to come by. (Williams, 2010) It was then thought that through the job security and promotional opportunities that primary school teaching offers it was becoming a more appealing prospect for potential male teachers; although the vast majority of those opting to teach in primary schools are still women.
3.1 – Introduction to chapter
This chapter will attempt to examine the reasons why there seems to be such a drive to introduce more male teachers into primary schools in the UK. Within the chapter whether introducing more male teachers is the best way to improve teaching practices and attainment of the children and where this leaves the female primary school teacher will be analysed, as will the effectiveness of male primary school teachers and the role that they play within the school.
3.2 – Male Teachers as Role Models
Recently it has become the view of government officials that the dominant ‘female domain’ that is primary school teaching is beginning to have a negative effect on the achievement and attainment of male pupils (Morris 1998) and there have been numerous government initiatives established with the aim of increasing the number of male primary school teachers. But despite high profile drives to increase the numbers of male teachers’ numbers are still dwindling. Historically there did not seem to be any issue with the numbers of men in the primary school field until the 1980’s where feminists argued that the numbers of men teaching in primary schools should be increased as a means of breaking down sexual and gender barriers while perhaps having a positive effect on the children they teach. (Aspinwall, Drummond, 1989 cited in Brush & Middlewood, 1997). As recent as 2009 there was a new drive encouraging males to become primary school teachers with a page on the government’s website dedicated to getting men to teach younger children.
One of the major reasons for championing the introduction male teachers into primary schools is the perceived problem of children not having a sufficient male role model. Much of this could be due to the distinct rise in children becoming members of single parent families (SPF). In 2007 it was announced that 24% of children; nearly a quarter were living in SPF’s. Within this 24% 9 out of 10 of these households are being headed by a women (often the mother) rather then the father or any other male figure (Independent, 2007). As a result of such figures for some it is thought that male pupils need male teachers as role models as well as teachers in order to develop and to reach their full potential. A poll conducted in 2008 for the Training and Development Agency of 800 men looked at the impact of male teachers in the development of boys. Within the survey it was found that 35% of respondents felt that having a male teacher encouraged them to work harder at schools, 50% said that they would be more likely to ask a male teacher for help regarding bullying, and 49% stated that they would be more likely to ask for help about school work if the teacher was male rather than if the teacher was female. Tanya Byron a consultant clinical psychologist claims that male primary school teachers are vital in providing a positive role model for children. Byron also claims that male primary school teachers are often stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children that they teach and that they inspire their children to ‘be more confident, work harder and to behave better’. Mancus (1992 cit; Drudy,2005) Found that when they are taught by both male and female teachers children became less rigid in thoughts about gender roles. Mancus continued by claiming that in comparison to their counterparts who have no male teachers those who do have male teachers to some degree tend to view male and female teachers as both nurturing as well as having authority. This could result in giving boys a wider range of behavioural choices which means they may well be more likely to show a more nurturing side if they were to see a male teacher behaving in such a nurturing manner.
It could however be argued that the impact of male teachers as role models is overstated. Currently in most of the developed world girls tend to perform better anyway (Programme for International Student Assessment, 2000 cit; OECD, 2000). The tendency regarding the underperformance of boys is to blame the feminisation of schooling for the disparity between the sexes. Miller (1996 cit; Kramarae & Spender, 2000) claims that the apparent feminisation of the primary school sector is merely used as a scapegoat in explaining the underperformance of boys in schools and that values and mechanisms must be looked at before coming to such a conclusion. Differences in the attainment of the sexes are not particularly due to the feminisation of the primary school. When looking at how the sexes perform in school it is important to not simply look at the sex of the student when other things could have a more profound effect such as social class and where the child lives (Lynch, 1999)It can be argued that there is infact no evidence that the feminisation of primary schools is the reason for any kind of underperformance by boys, this is underlined by the fact that in instances where boys outperform girls in things such as mathematics (OFSTED, 2003) this is irrelevant of whether the boys are taught by male or female teachers. Russell Hobby the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers has a similar point of view in thinking that male teachers effect on boys is overstated stating that he doesn’t believe that ‘it has a huge impact’ and that boys often have other male role models in other aspects of life such as ‘home, sporting clubs and the Boy Scouts’. This view is also argued by Allen (1994) who stated regarding male primary teachers as role models that ‘in practice, male role modelling emerges as a kind of optimistic ritual approach to solving social problems: No one knows what it is or how it works, but let’s do it anyway’. A study conducted in Australia also found that not all male primary school teachers were positive about the view that they should be/are considered role models for the children that they teach. Within the study of those who rejected the notion that they are a role model many stated that they regarded themselves as an ‘educator’ rather than a ‘parent substitute’ (Smith, 2004). Although many male primary school teachers accept the assumption that they are to be role models to those that they teach it could be argued that such expectations are putting unrealistic expectations on these people as they are already expected to teach these children should they also be expected to act as the primary male influence on these children’s life?
3.3 – The Job Being Done by Female Primary Teachers
The whole question regarding male primary school teachers leaves the status of the female primary school teacher very much under question. On the page Graham Holley Chief Executive of the Teaching Development Agency stated that ‘Men are under-represented in primary schools and we are keen to improve the balance over time. This is not an educational issue: there is nothing wrong with the thousands of splendid women teachers who we are fortunate to have in our schools. But a well-balanced, diverse and representative workforce is of huge benefit to children socially and in their broader development.’ But it could be questioned as to whether the sex of the teacher is what matters in the first place The whole idea of trying to tempt more men into teaching in primary schools has been interpreted as an ‘implicit criticism’ of female teachers in primary schools by Chris Keates, the general secretary of NASUWT. Keates argued that there was little evidence to show that increasing the number of male teachers would have any significant influence on the further educational attainment of the children which they teach. Also it was argued that the apparent positives of hiring a male primary school teacher such as the ability to inspire children, encourage them to work harder and behave better are all attributes that are gender neutral and that women who are doing a good job in primary schools can encourage children to behave and work in a similar manner without having to be viewed as a role model. (Guardian, 2009). This is a view shared by Yee (1973) who claimed that in teacher recruitment it was not the sex of the teacher that actually made a difference in the education of the child instead it was the qualities of the teacher that actually mattered. It just so happened that the traits that make one a good teacher in the primary school sector are more common in women rather than men. This view is one that has been taken on by quite a few and has since been dubbed as the ‘so what’ factor (Armitage, 1999) Concerns that boys are under performing is something that is common all over the world in not just the UK but other Western and South American countries (Hutchings, 2001 cit; Skelton, 2002) and it may be simplistic to think that this is just because of a lack of male teachers within schools. While there appears to be a stereotyping of children in the sense that it is thought that boys require a male teacher in order to perform at their best it could be argued that a subsequent stereotyping of teachers is occurring at the same time. There is no doubt a need for strong teachers in primary schools and to suggest that one gender is better at fulfilling such a role this is merely emphasising damaging stereotypes (Burn, 2001).
3.3 – The Masculinisation of the Primary Sector
On the contrary to what is commonly thought there is a view that the primary school sector is infact favouring male teachers rather than female teachers. Despite the sector becoming a profession predominantly occupied by women it would appear that this has not resulted in equal opportunities for the 2 sexes. In conducting a study regarding the promotion patterns of primary schools in the UK Thornton & Bricheno (2000) found that often men enjoy career advancement which is quicker than what is commonly experienced by women. This is also suggested through statistics provided regarding primary schools in Scotland. In 2005 93% of primary school teachers were women and 7% men. Women accounted for 81% of head teachers in primary schools and men 19%; this shows a definite preference for promoting males rather than females to authoritative positions (Scotland.gov, 2007). As a result it was found that although men who do work as primary school teachers are in a relatively low status profession they tend to enjoy more power and status within it than their female counterparts and as a result men envisage a more rapid rise to higher paid positions; a finding that has been evidenced by a number of other studies on the subject (Reid & Thornton, 2000 cit; Thornton & Bricheno, 2006). It is thought that men who do opt to teach in primary schools are well aware of the promotion opportunities available to them. Skelton (2001) backed up this theory through conducting interviews with various male primary school teachers. Within those who were questioned one respondent claimed that men were placed in headship positions merely because they ‘were men’. Another respondent offered a more comprehensive explanation as to why men are elevated to roles of more responsibility citing the traditional ideas of masculinity; the teacher stated that within the modern day society men are seen primarily as men rather than teachers and that men are seen as slightly superior and able to prosper in a role such as head teacher. Despite this study being on a micro scale and as such cannot be generalised throughout the country there does appear to be some sort of validity to the claims that men are being unfairly favoured when a head teacher post comes available because they are male. The views of the primary school teacher as a whole are shaped by both cultural history and traditions within this country and the considerable influence of the media on the subject (Burn, 2001). Currently it would appear that men are being labelled as assets within the classroom (Pepperell & Smedley, 1998) due to their supposed authoritative persona and ‘discipline man’ image. This is something that some male teachers use to their advantage; after getting used to women disciplining them children were taking more notice of male teachers due to their deeper voice (Burn, 2000). Grant (1989) had similar findings when examining the promotion aspects of women. When questioning a select group of women who were being interviewed with regards to a senior management position Grant found that posts often went to tall strong men who kept the children within their setting in line. These men were perceived as ‘bullies’ that took a hard line when it came to discipline by their fellow teachers and this was offered as a reason as to why they were selected to these higher roles.
Whether the authoritative nature of the male teacher is the reason for men being given higher positions within the school setting is unclear but in recent times it does not appear that men are being preferred in these roles any more. According to data provided by the Training and Development Agency for Schools those who are being appointed as head teachers across the UK are much younger than has been previously, but perhaps of more greater significance in regards to this piece of work there appears to be a significant rise in the number of women being promoted to the headship positions. The statistics published stated that women were now accounting for 70% of the workforce along with now 67% of head teacher and deputy head teacher positions. In comparison to the rest of the UK workforce this percentage of women in senior management positions is relatively high with just 12.5% of senior management positions within the top 100 UK companies being occupied by women. (TDA, 2011 cited in Daily mail, 2011)
4.1 – Introduction to the Chapter
This chapter will look at the history of the teaching profession and what has happened to shaped it into what it is today. Specifically the history of the division of labour and how it has affected the type of person to take a teaching job will be looked at, as will the debate of teaching being a professional or a semi-professional career.
4.2 – Gender Specific Jobs and the Division of Labour
The idea that different roles are more suited to certain people is not something that is uncommon, as is explained through the ‘division of labour’. The division of labour is defined as the way by which different tasks are allocated to certain groups of people in a given society. The idea of the division of labour in post industrialised western countries is to increase production by allocating certain jobs to those deemed most suited to it. In terms of gender, this refers to the ‘sexual division of labour’ where the traditional roles of a male breadwinner and a female housewife are generally considered the norm. The sexual division of labour arose following the separation of the household and the workplace during the industrialisation of western civilisations at which time men were then expected to become the breadwinner and provide for their family while the woman was expected to stay at home, complete various domestic chores and look after any children within the household. This occurred for a couple of reasons, firstly the jobs that arose as a result of industrialisation were primarily jobs of a physical nature; something that was assumed to be much more of a man’s forte as men were stereotypically thought to be stronger than women. As well as this women were considered more suited to the role of rearing the child due to the thought that women were more caring than men and also because women are the ones that give birth and carry the unborn child it was thought that this meant that the woman was more suited to the domestic role. With this sexual division of labour came the rise of patriarchy within western societies. As the men were going out to do work to keep the family running the men seemed to grasp a sense of greater importance and take the major ruling role within the family and other sectors. As stated; the male role is deemed as ‘instrumental’ while the woman’s role deemed as ‘expressive’ (Parsons 1956 cited in Podell, 1966)
In terms of the UK the history of the division of labour and the patriarchal society has had a profound effect. Even in modern day Britain women between the ages of 16-64 are almost twice as likely to be considered ‘economically inactive’ than their male counterparts. Of those women who do work far less hours are contributed that men. Women were found to be four times more likely to work part-time rather than full time and on average spend 70% more hours on domestic chores than men (Washbrook, 2007).This seems to have had an effect on the amount of pay that women get in comparison to men for those working in full time work it was found that men are earning more an hour than women in 18% of circumstances while in part time work men are earning more an hour in 40% of circumstances. (Olsen & Walby, 2004 cited in Washbrook, 2007) The reason for this has been given as because women often spend a longer amount of time outside of the workforce than men, often due to familial care responsibilities or maternity leave, something that men do not have or use as often as women do. (Olsen & Walby, 2004 cited in Washbrook, 2007). The disparity of wages between the sexes is something that indicates the prominence of the division of labour. Becker (1991) offered possible explanation for this being the case. This is through the theory that through the difference in wage there is a benefit to the household generally. Becker argued that should a couple differ in wage and household productivity then the output of the household can be maximised if both the man and woman within the household allocate their time to the sector of which they are deemed most productive (i.e. women taking part in domestic work and men earning outside of the household) and then exchange any surplus work within either section with their respective spouse. Becker argued that the bigger the difference in the spouse’s productivity the greater the potential gains are for the household. (Becker, 1991) Becker’s theory indicates that there is an assumption that the differing genders excel in different areas. Such assumptions when they are widely held by the society in which people live can have a marked effect on the choices that members of either sex make and also potentially the choices of occupation that individuals choose to be a part of. (Washbrook, 2007) Following research conducted in 2005 it was found that women appear to opt for occupations where the skills required are comparatively similar to those required within the domestic realm. Skills such as household maintenance and caring attributes required when bringing up children are the skills used in the jobs that women in the UK tend to choose. This is shown in that women in 2005 women accounted for over 80% of workers within secretary, administrative and personal service sectors. As we have examined; a high percentage of women were also seen to be working in the education sector. Though the percentage of those working in such a profession is not as high as 80% like in secretary, administrative or personal services the proportion of women working in the health, social work and importantly the education sectors is still high (Washbrook, 2007).
There are certain indicators however that the division of labour is beginning to become impacted on. The changing of social trends over time is given as a possible reason for the division of labour being changed. A perfect example of this is the changing difference in pay between men and women. In 1973 the gap in pay between men working in full time work and women working in full time work was 29%, this had lowered by 12% to 17% in 2005. Within that same time period the number of women working in Britain rose by 10%. As mentioned previously much of the reason men were earning more money and were more likely to work full time was due to the amount of time women were spending outside of the workforce. More recently however women have to spend less time outside of the workforce due to numerous factors; the massive rise in divorce rates, the postponement of first marriage and the decrease of women wanting children or the delay of children has resulted in women have a longer period of time being able to be economically independent, spend a prolonged uninterrupted period of time within the workforce and as a result minimize the pay disparity between male workers and female workers. Educational attainment of the respective sexes has also been highlighted as a possible reason for the differences in pay reducing. In 1970/1971 of those in further education 58% were male, while 67% of those taking part in higher education were men. By the year 2000 things changed greatly, 59% of those in further education were now female while 57% of those in further education were also female (Washbrook, 2007)
4.3 – Primary School Teaching as a Profession
Historically teaching in primary schools was deemed as a semi-professional job (Etzioni, 1969). This correlates with the observation that women historically worked in jobs where the pay was less than that for men, with much of the work they did do being part time. So what of the history regarding primary teaching as a ‘profession’A profession is defined as ‘an occupation, such as law, medicine, or engineering that requires considerable training and specialized study’. What is most noticeable about the definition provided is that there is no reference to teaching within it. This is primarily because historically teaching has not actually been viewed as a ‘profession’ as such. Although teaching had been acknowledged as an important job it was is rarely held in high esteem similar to that enjoyed by doctors or lawyers. This it is argued is due to the view that teachers who taught within public and grammar schools were ‘born and not made’ (Smith, 1957). Because of this these schools began to be populated by teachers who although were university educated were largely unprepared for the many potential difficulties that can arise within a classroom (Simon, 1981). The job first took a step towards professionalism following the 1902 education act. The 1902 education act provided the development of numerous grammar schools around the UK within which students had the opportunity to go on to teacher training colleges. Most importantly however the education act insisted that any entrants wishing to enrol into a teacher training college must have completed 4 years of full time grammar school education before doing so (Kandel, 1955). This meant that those pupils now wishing to become teachers were at least educated to a decent level and due to the teacher training colleges were in theory now better prepared for potential classroom situations. What the 1902education actually did however how widen the gap between elementary schools and grammar schools. Although in theory bringing the two closer by ensuring they were both involved with the state education system inadvertently the differing settings were being dragged further apart. The implementation of the 1902 education act meant that elementary schools and grammar schools were being governed by differing organisations, having to adhere to different codes. This meant that there was still a distinct difference in class between grammar schools and elementary schools and the quality of teachers that they could attract to their setting (Gillard, 2005).
At first the teacher training colleges focussed solely on subjects and methods of teaching. The teachers association after a time decided however that this was not stringent enough and encouraged a style of training similar to that of other professions, the need to change the way which teachers were trained was enhanced when it became apparent that education was beginning to put a greater emphasis on aiding a child’s development not just intellectually but also physically morally and emotionally (Kandell, 1955). At this point universities began to offer their graduates who wished to become teachers an opportunity to continue studying at the same university in training departments whereby the students would learn about teaching theory and also teaching practically. (Gillard,2005). By 1944 the McNair committee report outlined various recommendations regarding the staffing and training of teachers; this included a 3 year compulsory training course for those who wished to become teachers and also a salary increase for teachers. This report along with the education act of the same year was the first indication that teaching was becoming considered as a profession. The professionalism of teaching enjoyed a peak within the 1960’s in the UK due to various contributing factors. In 1960 the recommendation by the McNair report to extend the teacher training course from 2 years to 3 years came into fruition. In 1963 the Robbins report also recommended the introduction of other teaching degree courses where over a 4 year period students could study both education and 2 other main subjects. In 1964 school councils were introduced following a recommendation from the Lockwood report. This in theory meant that schools would have much more responsibility for what goes on within their own school. This meant that schools could take a role in what they teach to their pupils and also how the curriculum is taught to them by their teachers. This in turn was designed to help the teachers meet the expanding needs of their pupils by giving them a bit more freedom to teach using different techniques. (Watkins, 1993) In 1967 the Plowden report was published. Although congratulating the unique responsibility ad spur of freedom that teachers in the UK had the report did express some issue with the training system at that time. Plowden felt that it was wrong that someone can obtain a teaching degree with little or no professional training, consequently Plowden recommended that all teachers should be required to become professionally qualified prior to taking on a teaching role. (Plowden, 1968) In 1970 Plowden’s recommendations regarding professional qualification was taken on board by the government and at which time it became a requirement for teachers to gain Qualified Teacher Status and be approved by the teaching department prior to conducting formal teaching within any school.
One would think that this would result in teachers being seen as professionals but this was not the case. A series of publications criticising teachers and teaching were released, the first publication in 1969 argued that teaching in primary schools was a major cause of unrest amongst university students as well as a large factor in developing other unwelcome tendencies amongst students (Gallton, Simon & Croll, 1980). A publication by Bennet (1976) also received much press attention as apparent ‘progressive’ styles of teaching supposedly was having a negative effect on the development of their pupils (Galton, Simon & Croll, 1980). Publications of such Black Papers lead to the involvement of then Prime Minister Jim Callaghan who although applauding much of what goes on within schools expressed a concern at complaints within the teaching profession that many of those who were being recruited into the job did not have the basic skills required in order to effectively carry out their job. Callaghan also noted the concern being expressed by parents regarding the perceived informal methods of teaching being utilised by many teachers at that time (Gillard, 2005). Callaghan went on to explain that teachers were in such a job to appease both industry and parents while meeting the needs of their pupils. He also stated that if the general public were not convinced that teachers were doing things correctly then the profession was sure to come under more scrutiny in the future. The appointment of the Conservative government in 1979 and the subsequent 1980 education act went about taking a share of the power from teachers in the education system and giving in to parents. Parents were now given the opportunity to take a seat on the school boards and were also given greater freedom in deciding where their children went to school. Parents continuously were given more power throughout the 80’s with the 1984 ‘parental influence at school’ green paper, the implication of which was that parents and government officials were blaming teachers for the state of the education system and in order for the system to improve then parents and officials must take a more prominent role in shaping the education system. (Gillard, 2005) It wasn’t just the teachers who suffered from such assumptions however; it had a damaging effect on the education of the children, most particularly in terms of the curriculum. The emphasis of the Conservative government in terms of education was that teachers should be teaching children the 3 R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic rather than any other more experimental teaching (Gillard, 2005). This method of teaching was introduced despite the opposition of many, it was actually thought by many that a flexible curriculum, concentrating on cognitive development would be better in aiding the development of the child. (Gipps, 1993 cited in Chitty & Simon, 1993).
In more recent times teachers are continuing to suffer from a lack of morale and from a lack of status with little help from the government in rectifying the situation. (Gillard, 2005). The year 2003 saw what appeared to be a return to the past where teachers did not require specialist training. This became the case as student teachers were given permission to cover for fully qualified staff when they are off school. This was often cheaper than hiring fully qualified substitute teachers and became commonplace in schools around the country (Revell, 2004). The use of unqualified workers within schools was something championed by the Labour government in 2005 where the government said that they would widen routes into teaching by providing more varied support staff roles within schools. New teachers also argued that often schools often shirked their responsibility with regards to dedicating 10% of the teacher’s timetable for professional development. (Revell, 2005). The prominence of unqualified workers operating within schools and the lack of continuous professional training for newly appointed teachers makes it unsurprising that often teaching isn’t considered to be a profession. In order to achieve the best results for both teachers and pupils it should ensured that teachers are sufficiently trained before entering a job. Although it is important for students wishing to enter teaching to experience it first hand unqualified teachers should not be permitted to teach classes alone as they are as of yet unqualified to do so. Until those who are unqualified are unable to teach classes within schools and until those newly qualified teachers are continuously helped with regards to professional development then teaching it would appear will remain a job that is not considered a ‘profession’
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