Gender Balance in Primary Initial Teacher Education: Some Current Perspectives

Aug. 15, 2010

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 36, Issue 3, p. 303 – 317. (August 2010).

The drive to recruit more male primary teachers has been a longstanding aim of many Western countries. Within England the Training and Development Agency for Schools has undertaken a 10-year marketing campaign to increase the numbers with limited success. Researchers have attempted to analyse the reasons for this failure, considering many areas, for example, the feminisation of the teaching profession, the low status of the primary teacher and concerns about child protection.

This article discusses the findings of a research study undertaken by a group of providers of ITE (initial teacher education) aiming to examine current issues relating to the recruitment and retention of male students in primary ITE.

Many similar studies have researched only the male 'voice'. However, in an attempt to explore any differences in contributory factors, the current research examined views of both successful male and female trainees on ITE courses and their course providers.

The findings indicated that gender was overwhelmingly seen as irrelevant by trainees themselves. Where there was a significant difference to other studies it was that there was no significant gender difference observed in relation to concerns about child protection.

The study also identified successful strategies for retention and completion. Within these there was however a gender divide and the research highlighted that some strategies were seen as particularly supportive for male trainees. Where this is the case it is important that providers/policy makers acknowledge these and continue to address particular groups' needs.

Updated: Dec. 26, 2010