Monday, July 28, 2008

Definition of Terms


1. Boy Code – Boys displaying macho behaviours, rebelling against anything detected as feminine.

2. Coddling – Asserted as something feminine. Showing an abundance of affection in a context where affection is not normally shown.

3. Culture – A specific social construction based on location, government, etc.

4. Feminine – A social perspective of how a female ought to be.

5. Feminization – “A process in which the number of women in an occupation increases until the occupation switches from being predominantly male to predominantly female” (Addi-Raccah, 2002, p. 231).

6. Gender – The social construction of physical and mental attitudes of a male or female.

7. Hegemony – A cultural belief of how something ought to be.

8. Laddish – The idea of boys being boys. Acting out in order to promote a strong masculine image.

9. Masculine – A social perspective of how a male ought to be.

10. Stereotype – A preconceived idea of what a person will do or should do. Ie. Some boys are good at math, thus, each one should be.

Sunday, July 27, 2008



Addi-Raccah, A. (2002). The feminization of teaching and principalship in the Israeli educational system: A comparative study. Sociology of Education, 75, 231-248.

Ailwood, J. (2003). A national approach to gender equity policy in Australia: Another ending, another opening? Internationals Inclusive Education, 7(1), 19-32.

Bandura, A. (2007). Much ado over a faulty conception of perceived self-efficacy grounded in faulty experimentation. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26(6), 641-658.

Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1-26.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy. Harvard Mental Health Letter, 13(9), 4-7.

Bandura, A. (1994). Self-Efficacy. Retrieved from:

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. New York: General Learning Press.

Bandura, A., Vittorio, C., Barbaranelli, C., Gerbino, M., and Pastorelli, C. (2003). Role of affective self-regulatory efficacy in diverse spheres of psychosocial functioning. Child Development, 74(3), 769-782.

Beaman, R., Wheldall, K., and Kemp, C. Differential teacher attention to boys and girls in the classroom. Education Review, 58(3), 339-366.

Carrington, B. (2002). A quintessentially feminine domain? Student teachers’ constructions of primary teaching as a careeer. Educational Studies, (28)2, 287-303.

Carrington, B., and McPhee, A. (2008). Boys’ ‘underachievement’ and the feminization of teaching. Journal of Education for Teaching, 34(2), 109-120.

Crain, W. (2005). Theories of development: Concepts and application, 5th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Cunningham, B., and Watson, L. W. (2002). Recruiting male teachers. Young Children, 57(6), 10-15.

Davies, B. (1989) The discursive production of the male/female dualism in school settings. Oxford Review of Education, 15(3), 229-241.

Dee, T. S. (2005). A teacher like me: Does race, ethnicity or gender matter? American Economic Review, 95(2).

Driessen, G. (2007). The feminization of primary education: Effects of teacher’s sex on pupil achievement, attitudes and behaviour. International Review of Education, 53(2), 183-203.

Gallavan, N. (2003). Decision making, self-efficacy, and the place of career evaluation education in elementary school social studies. Social Studies, 94(1), 15-19.

Gray, J., and McLellan, R. (2006). A matter of attitude? Developing a profile of boys’ and girls’ responses to primary schooling. Gender and Education, 18(6), 651-672.

Hackett, G. (1991). Career self-efficacy measurement: Reactions to Osipow. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70(6), 330-331.

Hagen, J. W. (2007). Nature’s pathways to self-efficacy. Retrieved from:

Hawkins, R. M. F. (1995). Self-efficacy: A cause of debate. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 26, 235-240.

Jones, D. (2003). The ‘right kind of man’: The ambiguities of regendering the early years school environment-the case of England and Wales. Early Child Development and Care, 173(6), 565-575.

Keddie, A. (2006). Fighting, anger, frustration and tears: Matthew’s story of hegemonic masculinity. Oxford Review of Education, 32(4), 521-534.

Mills, N., Pajares, F., and Herron, C. (2006). A reevaluation of the role of anxiety: Self-efficacy, anxiety, and their relation to reading and listening proficiency. Foreign Language Annals, 39(2), 276-295.

McMaugh, A., and Debus, R. (1998). Self-efficacy and adjustment in the social context: A close look at childhood adjustment to chronic illness. Retrieved from:

Myhill, D., and Jones, S. (2006). ‘She doesn’t shout at no girls’: Pupils’ perceptions of gender equity in the classroom. Cambridge Journal of Education, 36(1), 99-113.

National Education Association. (2004). Are male teachers on the road to extinction? Retrieved from:

Preece, P. F. W., Skinner, N. C., and Riall, R. A. H. (1999). The gender gap and discriminating power in the National Curriculum Key Stage three science assessments in England and Wales. International Journal of Science Education, 21(9), 979-987.

Sabbe, E., and Aelterman, A. (2007). Gender in teaching: A literature review. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 13(5), 521-538.

Sadker, D. (1999) Gender equity: Still knocking at the classroom door. Educational Leadership, 56(7), 22-26.

Sadker, D., and Zittleman, K. (2005). Gender bias lives for both sexes. The Education Digest, 70(8), 27-30.

Sanders, J. (1997). Teacher education and gender equity. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from:

Sax, L. (2005). Why gender matters: What parents and teachers need to know about the emerging science of sex differences. New York: Doubleday.

Schunk, D., and Zimmerman, B. (2007). Influencing children’s self-efficacy and self-regulation of reading and writing through modeling. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 23(1), 7.

Skelton, C. (2002). The “feminisation of schooling” or “re-masculinising” primary education? International Studies in Sociology of Education, 12(1), 77-96.

Skelton, C. (1999). Constructing dominant masculinity and negotiating the ‘male gaze’. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 6(1), 17-31.

Sokal, L., Katz, H., Chaszewski, L., and Wojcik, C. (2007). Good-bye, Mr. Chips: Male teacher shortages and boys’ reading achievement. Sex Roles, 56(9-10), 651-659.

Stout, M. (2001). The feel good curriculum: The dumbing down of America’s kids in the name of self-ssteem. Da Capo Press.

Tang, M., Addison, K., LaSure-Bryant, D., Norman, R., O’Connell, W., and Stewart-Sicking, J. (2004). Factors that influence self-efficacy of counselling students: An exploratory study. Counselor Education and Supervision, 44(1), 69.

Thorne, B. (1994). Gender play: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswisk: Rutguers University Press.

Weil, E. (2008). Teaching to the testosterone. New York Times Magazine, 38-45, 84-87.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Literature Review - Feminization of Education

Feminization of Education

Gender expectations, as mentioned, are of extreme concern. Driesen (2007), however, argued that the achievement of boys or lack thereof, is not of a result of the feminization of primary education. Driesen asserted that the “percentage of women teaching is constantly increasing at the cost of the percentage of men” (p. 185). However, this is not seen as a negative according to the author. Despite acknowledging that the content and method in which it is being delivered is increasingly becoming feminine that does not support an argument to state that boys are being left behind with their education.

The argument, according to Driesen (2007), is that the decreasing amount of male role models, performing masculine activities, displaying an ability to have, as previously mentioned, masculine hegemony needs to be discussed, however not fixed. That is, while it is obvious there is a lack of males within primary education, it is not vital that this increases. Thus, one needs to answer the question, is achievement higher among male students with a female teacher or a male teacher?

Statistics have displayed the ever increasing amount of female primary teachers, specifically within the year two classes, where 98% of teachers are females. In addition to this, Driesen’s findings suggest that the amount of female teachers has risen very rapidly, with each class year representing an annual increase from 1996 to 2002.

With the numbers in mind, Driesen (2007) discussed what differences male and female teachers possess within their classrooms. Essentially, Driesen found that there is no difference among the genders in reference to training, job satisfaction, and other categories.

Weil (2008) asserted that female teachers are more soft-spoken and gentle with their approach in the classroom. Weil suggested that differences in classrooms can be seen with the most minor details such as room temperature, lighting, and color. Thus, while there may not be a difference in the overall attitude of a teacher, slight differences within the classroom could have a major effect on student achievement.

Furthermore, Driesen researched student achievement and the findings suggested that “neither the sex nor the ethnicity of the teachers have an effect [on achievement test scores]” (2007, p. 188). Furthermore, Driesen findings negated that of Dee’s, in asserting that the behavior of students does not differ with the gender of the instructor. “More men at the front of the class does not lead to better achievement and/or more favorable attitudes and behavior on the part of boys or – for that matter – girls” (Driesen, 2007, p. 199). Thus, feminization of education, has not had an affect on student achievement.

Debating Driesen’s assertion that the gender of an instructor does not make a difference with the achievement and behavior of students, Beaman et al. (2006) suggested that male students “dominate classroom interactions” (p. 339). On average, males receive about two-thirds of teacher attention during a class, however, this attention was predominantly given to a small amount of the male students and was typically when reprimanding the student. Furthermore, boys received “60% of student directed gaze”, which can be thought of as a form of reprimanding, or expecting the students to speak before they have spoken (Beaman et al., 2006, p. 343).

This extra attention is said to be due to a greater portion of boys having “special learning needs…[rather] than an issue of sex bias” (Beaman et al, 2006, p. 347). However, Beaman et al. also reported that boys were receiving “significantly more negative feedback than girls” (p. 348). In fact, interviews from teachers report that “both male and female teachers, [found that] girls were seen to offer much less of a management challenge” (Beaman et al., 2007, p. 350). Disruptive boys were found to be talking without being picked on and having difficulties staying on task. This disruption, Weil (2008) wrote, is simply boys being boys and should be used as a positive factor, rather then a negative. That is, a teacher should utilize the high energy a young boy brings to the classroom rather then punishing him for it. Beaman et al. write that the tolerance level for boys is less then that of girls, which causes a higher number of reprimands. In fact, teachers should allow boys to be more active as those are the behaviors which will be utilized in future endeavors.

Myhill and Jones (2006) asserted that teachers are treating boys differently then girls and that school are simply amplifying the stereotypes of society. Furthermore, “girls are constructed as the good student while boys are viewed as the interesting person” (Myhill & Jones, 2006, p. 100). Increasingly, teachers are labeling boys as negative and in need of greater discipline and structure. Conversely, girls are seen as harder workers with superior organization skills. The combination of females being the ideal student and the lack of males within schools, Beaman et al. (2007) wrote, is resulting in boys viewing school and consequently education, as being feminine.

The discussion however is not focused on the behavior of boys and girls, rather the achievement. Beaman et al. (2007) assert that the achievement gap for boys and girls has increased and that boys in general are having worse overall performances. It is then asserted that teachers have a “low[er] expectation of boys” (Myhill & Jones, 2006, p. 101). Thus, boys struggles are expected, and therefore not noted as readily.

Reminiscent of Carrington, Beaman et al. (2006) wrote that often the actions of boys are often promoted as the construction of masculinity. Furthermore, these antics, which often lead to the student being named the class clown, also are referred to as the favourite. This however, is not always a positive outcome and typically results in the student being a poor influence within the classroom and consequently disrupting behaviour.

With this acting out in mind, Beaman et al. (2006) asserted that male students are over-represented within special education programs. That is, of students whom are defined as having special needs, 70% are boys (Beaman et al., 2006). This over-whelming figure, can be attested due to “boys showing disruptive behaviour” as well as a lack of reading achievement (Beaman et al., 2006, p. 359). Both issues, the authors write, appear to be a result of boys not behaving appropriately within the classroom. That is, the boys are acting like boys and not similar to the ideal student or female way.

Special education issues can also be chalked up to teacher referrals, according to Beaman et al. (2006). Gender bias, is noted when reviewing students in need of special education and their subsequent referral agents. That is, disruptive behaviour could cause a student to be referred to special education despite no real need for special education. This assertion is given further credence with the understanding that “teachers tend to refer students who bothered them in the classroom” (Beaman et al., 2006, p. 360). Furthermore, “only 36% of teacher-referred students met the district criteria for learning disability services” (Beaman et al., 2006, p. 360). Thus, it is evident that students who are being referred for special education are inappropriately being referred and it is hypothesized that the prominence of boys is due to disruptive behaviour rather then actual learning issues.

There is a belief that a greater male presence within primary education would decrease the anti-school perspective that many boys have (Myhill & Jones, 2006). Additionally, the behaviours of boys would be improved if the culture within primary education was made more masculine. That is, “boys were indeed reprimanded more than girls, [and] girls’ misdemeanours often passed unnoticed or ignored” (Myhill & Jones, 2006, p. 102). Thus, an increase in male teachers would consequently lower the “disproportionate negative responses to boys” (Beaman et al., 2006, p. 362) and improve the overall environment of primary education. There are, perceptions that teachers have on boys and girls which causes for a negative opinion towards boys and a positive one for girls.

Furthermore, “teachers bring their beliefs and assumptions into the classroom with them, and these perceptions, consciously or unconsciously, manifest themselves in their own teaching practice” (Myhill & Jones, 2006, p. 110). These beliefs include viewing boys as a problem and girls as an ideal student. Furthermore, because of these beliefs, it is likely that girls will receive more attention then boys, especially that of positive attention. Specifically, boys receive an unfair amount of negative attention from teachers.

Receiving negative attention from teachers can reaffirm that a boy is not in his element within education. Male disaffection, Carrington and McPhee (2008) wrote, is bordering on a moral dilemma. That is, focusing on the opinions of boys, which is required considering the growing gender gaps in student achievement, and neglecting the results which are promoting females at a never seen before rate, could be deemed as sexist. However, changes are being made because “policy-makers have tended to assume that there is a casual relationship between the feminization of the teaching profession, the gender gap in achievement, and male disaffection from school” (Carrington & McPhee, 2008, p. 110). Thus, education reforms are focused on encouraging the development of male students.

Furthermore, studies have shown that children relate to teachers of the same gender (Carrington & McPhee, 2008). The feminization of primary education has additionally had an effect on “process of teaching and learning” (Carrington & McPhee, 2008, p. 110). That is, everything that a female brings to the classroom, be it teaching style, or the classroom layout, is having an effect on the students.

The addition of more men in the teaching profession would add needed father figures to children end need (Carrington & McPhee, 2008). This, would widen the experiences of boys within the classroom, as well as providing an encouraging positive role model. Keep in mind that every teacher, regardless of gender, is referred to as a role model. A gender model however can add a sense of encouragement for a young boy to follow through with positive academic behaviours.

Participants in the survey Carrington and McPhee (2008) conducted, suggest that there is a need of more men in primary schools. However, the opinions of why more men is necessary varied by gender. Females, for example, “were more likely to perceive an enhanced male presence in the sector, as being conductive to the maintenance of discipline, particularly in the early years” (Carrington & McPhee, 2008, p. 117).

Further observations from the study, as noted by Carrington and McPhee (2008), were that many teachers saw themselves “as symbols of academic achievement” (p. 117). Being a model of academic success could help encourage students to pursue academia. This is especially pertinent for male learners whom view education as feminine. That is, viewing more males at the front of the classroom would encourage students to believe that teaching, and consequently learning, are not female activities.

The feminization of education has created a more girl friendly environment which has resulted in the under-achievement of boys (Skelton, 2002). In addition to this, feminization “has created an alleged shift towards the privileging of female learning styles, assessment practices, modes of discipline, and so forth” (Skelton, 2002, p. 86). Furthermore, daily routines and management practices are becoming more and more feminine as fewer and fewer males enter the teaching profession.

An argument presented against feminization of education is presented by Skelton (2002) whom asserted that one would have to “assume that females only act in stereotypical feminine ways and males in stereotypical masculine ways” (p. 91). Furthermore, the term feminization assumes that an intentional shift has been created in order to favour females. This would be inaccurate considering the rate of men whom are members of administration or principals.

In addition to utilizing men as a means to model appropriate and desired educational outcomes for male students, males can provide a positive appearance of teaching as a whole (Skelton, 2002). That is, teaching is considered as women’s work and does not have a much higher status then babysitting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Literature Review - Need for a Male Presence

In Need of a Rare Breed?

There is a growing body of literature which asserts that there is a need for more males within primary education. As previously noted, men make up fewer then 20% of the primary teachers in North America. Additionally within this literature is the ideology that boys are struggling due to a lack of male role models (Sokal, Katz & Cheszewski, 2007). Struggling is due to the thinking that education is a feminine activity. The authors asserted that this is embedded in the minds of children at an early age as mothers are traditionally the ones that are encouraging academic behaviours. It is thus suggested that gender identity is formed and encouraged through “same-sex role models” (Sokal et al., 2007, p. 652).

Same gendered role models help children make predictions about gender roles. According to Sokal et al. (2007), “children learn the cultural stereotypes associated with both sexes, but they learn about their own sex more quickly and elaborately” (p. 652). Thus, the information students gather from their teachers will consequently result in the creation of their opinions of how they ought to be.

The attitudes toward reading that have been negatively formulated through viewing reading as feminine will consequently result in a lack of desire to read. However, according to Sokal et al. (2007), boys who were taught by a male teacher had a less negative opinion of reading compared to that of a boy who was taught by a female. Additionally, boys who worked with a male instructor “developed a less feminized view of reading and had better perceptions of their social feedback about their reading skills” (Sokal et al., 2007, p. 656). This is then an example of why a male instructor is vital for the development of boys within academia.

This self-perception of reading and reading ability is the only factor that the research of Sokal et al. (2007) found to be relevant. That is, the reading achievement levels of students taught by a male or a female do not differ significantly. The research supported the idea that the feminine characteristic of coddling plays a role in a student’s achievement. Furthermore, “the research suggests that female teachers provide more verbal and non-verbal praise to students than do male teachers” (Sokal et al., 2007, p. 656). Thus leading to primary education being less about learning, and more about making students feel good about them.

The authors then concluded that the strategic hiring of male teachers would not positively affect student outcomes, specifically that of boys (Sokal et al., 2007). In fact, the assertion is that this strategy may negatively affect student outcomes.

Agreeing with this conclusion, Ailwood (2003) debated why the concentration of recruiting males into education and improving the outcomes of male students does not take into account the outcomes of female students. Further research needs to be put in place to discover what exactly the issue is with the underachievement of boys. For example, the author believes that socio-economic, political, and cultural issues are equally as important. Furthermore, Australian indigenous boys and girls, for example, are at an academic disadvantage. Thus, academic policies should be created while asking “which girls, which boys” (Ailwood, 2003, p. 22)? Ailwood wants a policy to be made “where girls and boys are understood to be equally, but differently disadvantaged by the education system” (p. 21). That is to say, while there may be a boy problem, there may also be a problem relating to girls.

Politically, Ailwood (2003) questioned how the problem with male achievement is affecting children long term. That is, females in Australia are make 83 cents to every dollar a male earns. This difference is similar to the assertion that “unequal division of influence and reward in the education establishment” (Sanders, 1997, paragraph 8). Furthermore, Ailwood asserted that “success in education does not necessarily translate into career success for women” (p. 23). Additionally, girls, Ailwood wrote, “remain less likely to follow economically successful post-secondary pathways, a disadvantage which is compounded by the growing need for women to be economically self-sufficient” (p. 24). These are all examples of how females are underprivileged and why the focus to improve the education of boys should focus on improving education for everyone, not simply boys.

Masculine privilege, Ailwood (2003) wrote, limits the concern for females within education. That is, with a change in primary education to enhance the achievement of boys, females may be left behind. Furthermore, Australian policy encourages girls to go into non-traditional female career paths and to take courses in maths and sciences. This, however, is further reinforcing the fact that language arts and humanities courses are feminine and thus, less valuable.

Through asserting that feminine subjects are less valuable, the education departments are creating a segregation of gender. Addi-Raccah (2002) wrote, that “school structures serve as a mechanism for gender segregation and for the reproduction of gender power relations in the society at large” (p. 244). This segregation debates the ideology that men are not interested in becoming teachers; rather, they are socially encouraged to find a different career. Furthermore, if a male does pursue a career within education, he is more likely to advance through the ranks into administration. Additionally, men are likely to teach in better schools, either in terms of economics or location.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Literature Review - Role Models

The Role Model

The literature goes into detail regarding role models, beginning with Thorne (1994) who finds that boys and girls are still being segregated in the activities they perform even on the school play grounds. “Many boys, and a sprinkling of girls spread across large grassy fields, playing games of baseball, soccer, or football. The spaces where girls predominate, playing jump rope or foursquare or standing around talking, lie closer to the school building” (Thorne, 1994, p. 1). This, according to Thorne, is not a matter of decision, rather the individual’s social construction of how they ought to be. Thorne writes that “if boys and girls are different, they are not born but made that way” (p. 2). That is, there is a belief that boys and girls are socially constructed to be how they are, whether it be in play or in social desires.

The student’s actions, Sadker and Zittleman (2005) did not see them as the major problem; rather it is that teachers expect the boys and girls to act differently. Boys, the authors wrote, are expected to rebel against school work, whereas girls are expected to be conforming and hard working. Those expectations reflect gender stereotyping, which is of equal importance to the subject stereotyping that has only recently been improved.

This new form of gender stereotyping is due to boys feeling as if the language arts are feminine and could consequently threaten their masculinity (Sadker & Zittleman, 2005). The gender stereotyping is reaffirmed as girls, on average, receive superior grades on their report cards. Conversely, boys score higher on standardized tests, including verbal sections on the SAT Reasoning Test. This then could be chalked up to a possible in-class gender bias where boys enact upon a ‘boy code’ which suppresses dependency.

Agreeing with Sadker and Zittleman, Preece, Skinner, and Riall (1999) wrote that “male underachievement in schools has recently captured the headlines in the [United Kingdom], with substantially higher proportion of females now gaining high[er] grades” (p. 979). Preece et al. studied whether or not there was an actual gender difference within test scores. In doing so, the authors concluded that the written test had no real gender biases and that content should be chosen based on the educational importance rather than by gender preference.

Additionally, a fight for dominance within a class can reinforce a male’s negative behavior in the classroom (Keddie, 2006). That is, the disruptive behaviors of a boy may be a result of the individual wanting to be what he views as being male. It is then the boys’ assumptions of gendered behavior that results in disruptive actions in the classroom. Thus, hegemonic masculinity “can also be seen as ‘at odds’ with this destructive process” (Keddie, 2006, p. 533). That is, boys are being socially encouraged, according to Keddie, to fight against the social norms of education.

Furthermore, there is research to support the fact that boys are typically less enthusiastic about school then girls are (Gray & McLellan, 2006). This only worsened as boys developed through school, although the research does not specify why that is (Gray & McLellan). However, it ought to be understood that students in general were relatively positive about school (Gray & McLellan).

Revisiting the boy code, Sadker and Zittleman (2005) wrote that “boys typically attribute success to intelligence and failure to bad luck or insufficient effort” (p. 30). Additionally, boys are said to avoid subjects which are typically dominated by females, which include music, art, and reading (Sadker & Zittleman, 2005). Furthermore, an attitude which does not promote hard work, as well as lacking the desire to be open within their educational pursuits, boys are being socially molded into what a man ought to be.

However, what is it that a man ought to be? Skelton (1999) showed that a man (that of the middle-class, heterosexual sort) ought to be intelligent and proficient. However, this deviates from a study conducted where the findings discussed that male teachers were likely to protect their masculinity by discussing his “athletic prowess, [as well as] having a laugh, (not) looking smart, and having a good time with his mates (pupils)” (Skelton, 1999, p. 23). It needs to be understood, however, that these actions are found within the small amount of men that are in primary education, an area of education that is specifically avoided by men due to the perception that “working with young children [is viewed] as ‘women’s work’” (Skelton, 1999, p. 23). This is emphasized by the influence masculinity has on society where the traditions are strongly heterosexual (Jones, 2003).

Male primary teacher’s, Skelton (1999) found, intended to keep a sense of ‘laddish’ behaviors, to promote their heterosexuality. That is, the male teacher had more of a coach mentality then that of a teacher, in promoting a ‘team spirit’ while utilizing humor as a teaching tactic (Skelton, 1999). Promoting this sense of team and sport falls short of the masculine hegemonic values of intelligence and proficiency that was previously asserted. That is, if students are to discover the construction of how specific genders are to perform (Jones). Therefore, the teacher is not doing the class justice by acting in a way that does not promote the values of masculine hegemony.

Gender roles are constructed though viewing and doing appropriate gendered behaviors-which are set out by a specific society, and culture (Sabbe & Aelterman, 2007). Children, are continually performing their gender. Additionally, performances are viewed as correct or incorrect in terms of the social orders. Correct gender actions are viewed in terms of what it is a person should do to be male and what they should not do. Furthermore, gender “is thought of as dichotomous and it is assumed that everyone falls into one (and only one) of two clearly distinct categories” (Sabbe & Aetlerman, 2007, p. 525). This further promotes gender inequity in suggesting males ought to act one way, and females ought to act another.

Studies, according to Sabbe and Aetlerman, show that men and women do not differ in achievements of their students, however “when significant differences arise, women are more often held in higher regard than are men” (2007, p. 526). Furthermore, teaching is not gender neutral. That is, social and cultural aspects affect the manner in which individuals display themselves.

Conversely, female students, according to Skelton (1999), are supposed to act cooperatively, while displaying characteristics of “empathy and nurturance” (p. 25). Interestingly, these characteristics are similar to what many view a teacher to be. That is, a hypothesis of why males are straying from becoming primary teachers is due to the inability to be both masculine and a ‘caring nurturer’, which is said to be the ideal characteristics of a teacher. It is then seen for men, that primary education is a “passive or weak” profession, which would take a man to be a ‘wimp’ (Jones, 2003, p. 572).

Additionally, the perception of girls among educators is that they are “better organized and more independent learners” (Beaman et al., 2007, p. 351). In addition to this, the female students are also found to have superior communication skills, are more articulate and boast superior confidence then boys. These skills, which teachers believe play a role in the high-achievement of girls, are seen as ideal and thus, girls are labeled as the ideal student. “Being an ideal student in school may not necessarily deliver better outcomes in the post-school years, however. It may be that compliant girls are more of a benefit to their teachers than they are to themselves” (Beaman et al., 2007, p. 354). That is, while some teachers may agree with the quiet and orderly conduct typically displayed by female students; this may hinder the child’s ability to learn.

Jones (2003) wrote that it takes a certain type of man to be an effective primary school teacher. The amount of female teachers, a study found, in comparison with the distribution of males within primary schools in the United Kingdom, is believed to be unhealthy and abnormal. In consideration of the disproportionate amount of males within primary education, Jones asserted the lack of men may infect schools with an abundance of emotion.

Furthermore, Jones (2003) asserted that male students are especially in need of the positive role model. The assumption is, that a lack of same-gender role models has led to boys viewing education as being feminine and thus acting out in what Carrington (2002) refers to as ‘laddish’ behaviors. That is, this rebellion against education is said to be “a consequence of the dearth of male ‘role models’ in the primary schools” (Carrington, 2002, p. 287). Boys then are acting out, in order to rebel against their female instructors. In addition to this, lacking men in primary education also affects “the daily routines and educational practices” (Carrington, 2002, p. 288). That is, even male teachers are being feminized through association.

A further discussion of the role men play within education, Carrington (2002) writes is that of the disciplinarian. Thus, as a consequence of student behaviors, male teachers are encouraged to teach the older grades and further limit the amount of men in the primary grades. Furthermore, it has been found “that male teachers have a crucial part to play in fostering positive attitudes…among young boys” (Carrington, 2002, p. 297). These positive attitudes are vital to encouraging academic growth amongst male students in elementary education, and beyond.

Dee (2005) discussed how gender gaps are “viewed as a prominent policy concern” (p. 1). Throughout this discussion, the author raised the question of how demographics contribute to classroom dynamics and thus asserts that gender equity is required within schools and consequently within teacher training programs as well as within professional development programs. However, Dee suggested that teachers need to be role-models, which is something that cannot be taught. Being a role-model will “raise a student’s academic motivation and expectations” (p. 3). That is, the behaviors of a teacher will reflect what a successful academic career can lead too.

Beaman et al. (2006) noted that children see sex roles passively and consequently absorb how to act appropriately. Thus, a student’s motivation can be affected by the teacher as the student can feel as though he or she is being stereotyped (Dee, 2005).

Dee (2005) gathered data from a study where teachers and students were surveyed. The portion of the survey which Dee concentrated the research on is that of the teacher comments and reflections where demographics were matched with overall teacher impressions. That is, the analysis specifically discussed how teachers of a specific gender viewed the genders of his or her students.

The findings Dee (2005) generated suggested that there was a relationship between teacher impression and student behavior. However, there is not a separation within the data, rather, compiling gender into one category. That is, the gender of the teacher, whether male or female, is referred to as ‘OTHSEX’ and consequently, the teachers answered based on the gender of the opposite sex. The findings of the study then suggest that teachers found that students of the opposite sex were perceived as being more disruptive, less attentive, and completes homework less frequently. It was also found that opposing genders had a great affect on the teacher’s impression of the students then race, ethnicity, and social class. Furthermore, race and ethnicity, has a strong relationship with socioeconomic status.

In consideration of the teacher’s impressions of student gender, it is interesting to note how a student develops his or her gendered identity. Davies (1989) wrote, “the individual is not so much the product of some process of social construction that results in some relatively fixed end-product but is constituted and reconstituted through the various discursive practices in which they participate” (p. 229). That is, a student’s development within the classroom can be affected by the instructor’s preconceived ideas of the student. Thus, if an instructor expects a student to fail, the student is more likely to fail, and therefore lack academic successes.

With the ever decreasing rate of males within the teaching profession-specifically within elementary (National Education Association, 2004), commentators have showed that that there is a sexism being placed on male students, that males are being victims of a feminist movement (Sadker, 1999). One of the reasons behind this, is that “the majority of college students are women” and that percentage is ever increasing (Sadker, 1999, p. 22). This however, is not limiting the amount of stereotyped gender roles; rather, it is only encouraging them. That is, “males who express an interest in careers typically thought of as ‘feminine’ also encounter social pressures” (Sadker, 1999, p. 24). This is resulting in fewer men entering the teaching profession, as well as the males who do enter from losing a sense of masculinity.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Literature Review - Introduction

Discovering how gender affects the educational outcomes for both boys and girls leads to interesting findings. There appears to be a substantial divide between the results that are noted between boys and girls in the elementary ages. However in all the findings, few, if any, are dissecting the results without having a prior opinion on the subject. Additionally, researchers appear to be ignoring ideas such as Bandura’s social learning theory when attempting to conclude why a situation may be the way it is. The review of the literature will Review the literature which discusses students’ need for a role model, the affect of the feminization of education, and the need for males in elementary classrooms, through the lens of Bandura’s self-efficacy.

Gender is an important issue within elementary education given how few males, according to the NEA, are present in the classroom. Sadker and Zittleman linked this idea through stating,

In reality, gender bias is very much an issue for both boys and girls, an issue too many educators fail to see. For example, can you imagine a teacher organizing a spelling bee by matching black students against white students? Certainly not in today’s society.

But consider the same teacher organizing the same activity by gender, boys against girls. That’s a practice so common that it has become an acceptable, unquestioned part of school life…Still, we see some schools separating girls and boys in lunchrooms, class lines, playgrounds, and school buses (Sadker & Zittleman, 2005, p. 27).

There is, then, not only an obvious gender bias within education, but similarly a bias towards gender bias. Sadker and Zittleman (2005) asserted that those who claim there is a gender issue within primary education, utilizing statistics which state girls are outscoring boys on standardized tests, should be careful what impact de-feminizing education will have on the girls. That is, there is a potential for negative results to occur on girls within classrooms if they are taught by predominantly males rather than predominantly females.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Theoretical Frameword - Criticism's

Criticism’s of Self-Efficacy

Criticism’s of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy include Hagen’s (2007) assertion that continual praise creates a false sense of ability. That is, if a student who is failing is continually told he or she is doing a good job, the student will have little urgency to try to better oneself. “Self-efficacy comes from the reality of accomplishing a task rather than from praise; further, empty praise raises all sorts of issues related to honesty, trust, and belief” (Hagen, 2007, para. 6). Thus, in order to raise students self-efficacy, one must be certain to do so appropriately.

Further criticism of providing praise is found when Stout (2001) discussed the dumbing down of education in America. Stout suggested that self-esteem ought to come through a student’s successes. The motivation to build one’s efficacy, according to Stout, is coming at the expense of academic success as students are being provided evaluations they do not deserve in order to save their feelings.

Additionally, efficacy measurements have been criticized for their generality (McMaugh & Debus, 1998). That is, seeking an individual’s general competence and supplying him with positive feedback will result in a student not focusing on areas of potential weaknesses. Not evaluating a specific academic task can result in a student having a wrongful self image.

Further criticism of self-efficacy occurs when Hawkins (1995) questions “whether attitudes cause behavior or whether behavior causes attitudes” (p. 238). That is, Hawkins maintained that it is not ones attitudes which cause an individual to act, rather, it is his or her actions which cause them to believe. Although Hawkins does believe that self-efficacy can be utilized as a predictor there may be superior factors which influence an individual’s performance than self-efficacy, such as gender.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Theoretical Framework - Connection with Study

Connection with Study

Self-efficacy can be linked with the classroom through asserting that the teachers actions matter as much as the content. Schunk and Zimmerman (2007) tested Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy through teaching primary aged students a new element of art, as clay modeling. The authors discovered that teaching the student’s the skills necessary to accomplish the task and creating confidence would improve the overall results-the learner is thus utilizing the skills from the instruction. Furthermore, a child’s self-efficacy can be improved by noting another student’s ability to succeed. Thus, the conclusion after this study was that “the modeling, practice, and feedback, combined with learning goals and evaluations of strategy effectiveness” enhanced the child’s ability to learn (Schunk & Zimmerman, 2007, p. 19). In doing so, an instructor will enhance the child’s self-efficacy.

In another study, Mills, Pajares, and Herron (2006) researched how a Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy played a role in a student’s anxiety levels. “Student’s efficacy beliefs possesses a positive relationship to their academic performance” (p. 277). Furthermore, there was a relationship between student self belief and his or her ability to read and concluded that 14% of academic achievement was due to a student’s self-efficacy.

Further studies revealed that Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy affected the possibility of a student “undertak[ing] challenging tasks, expend[ing] greater effort, show[ing] increased persistence, demonstrate[ing] lower anxiety, display[ing] flexibility with learning strategies, and [displaying superior skills of] self-regulat[ion]” (Mills et al., 2006, p. 278). Additional research found that gender made an impact on student’s self-efficacy. That is, males were found to have a higher self-belief about their math and science skills then did females.

Tang, et al. (2004), investigated Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy from the perspective of counselors of school-aged children. Thus, a counselors feeling of their personal worth will have an enormous affect on the students he or she is counseling (Tang et al., 2004). “To be confident in their ability” the authors (2004) write, is “to use these skills in real-life settings [which] has a direct influence on the quality of counseling in services they provide” (p. 70). That is to say, the more experience a counselor has within the training portion of his or her academics, the better served he or she will be to appropriately counsel students in the long run.

Through understanding how the effects of self-efficacy of a counselor can have on a student, it is undeniable that these same self belief factors would play a role in the classroom. Tang et al. (2004) concluded, “past experience and actual involvement in related tasks help individuals to develop more confidence in accomplishing a task” (p. 77). Thus, by placing students in real-world scenarios, a teacher can better prepare his or her students.

Further evidence of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy affecting a student’s education is concluded by Gallavan (2003) who suggests that “the areas of school where young students excel academically may initiate lifelong patterns of achievement and reward them psychologically and socially” (p. 15). Building confidence and creating a level of high self-efficacy will push a student in one direction or away from another (Gallavan, 2003). Career education encourages student engagement and better prepares students with relevant, current issues of today as well as tomorrow. That is, a student’s positive outlook of current issues will have a lasting effect (Gallavan). Thus, Gallavan concludes, “by examining the world around them, individuals consider their personal beliefs about themselves, along with their distinct personal control and management of learning” (p. 17). That is to say, an individual will create a self image based on what he or she sees around oneself.

Thus, an individual’s self image, which is created within the early years of education, will have a lasting effect on a student. Mills, Pajares, and Herron (2006) concluded that a low self-efficacy can affect a student’s academic achievements by 14% and a high level of self-efficacy can further improve that. Furthermore, a student’s belief about his or her own abilities may influence a career path which may be less desirable, however more along the lines of self-efficacy.

Through building self-efficacy at an early age, a student can build his or her ability to go beyond what would have been with a low self-efficacy. Thus, utilizing Bandura’s social learning theory as a lens to views articles regarding gender in education, one will be able to see what affects a student’s gender has, if at all, on achievement levels.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Theoretical Frameword - Self-Efficacy


Self-efficacy is another component of Bandura’s social learning theory. Self-efficacy, according to Bandura (1994), is an individual’s belief about his ability to perform at a designated level. “Perceived self-efficacy plays a pivotal role in this process of self-management because it affects actions not only directly but also through its impact on cognitive, motivational, decisional, and affective determinants” (Bandura et al., 2003, p.769). That is, a person’s impression of their abilities will have an effect on the desire to perform an activity. In addition to this, Bandura, Vittorio, Barbaranelli, Gerbino, and Pastorelli’s (2003) theory of self-efficacy discovered that an individual’s self image can play a role in whether they have a positive or negative manner in which they will perform an activity. An individual, according to Bandura (1997), will have more incentive to attempt an activity if he or she believes he or she is capable of performing it.

Self-efficacy, will influence an individual’s aspirations (Bandura, 1997). That is, one whom has a high level of self-efficacy is likely to think soundly, create difficult challenges, and commit to meeting the challenges they set forth. Conversely, those “with a low sense of efficacy avoid difficult tasks” (Bandura, 1997, p. 5). Self-efficacy can not only promote motivation for an individual with high efficacy, but it can also serve as a model to which one can imitate. That is, if one observes an individual who has similar characteristics succeed, he or she is likely to feel as if they have the ability to succeed in a similar scenario.

Self-efficacy can be influenced in four ways; mastery and vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and reducing stresses (Bandura, 1994). Mastery, is built on performing tasks successfully. Conversely, failure will establish a negative sense of efficacy. However, if an individual “experience[s] only easy successes…[he or she will] come to expect quick results and…[will be] easily discouraged by failures” (Bandura, 1994, para. 5). Thus, an individual’s efficacy beliefs will increase if he or she is being continually and gradually challenged.

Vicarious experiences are those in which an individual experiences an activity performed by a model. The belief that observing a person of similar ability will raise one’s efficacy as the individual will believe they too are capable of performing the task (Bandura, 1994). However, this too can work negatively, as experiencing an individual of similar ability fail could create self-doubt. According to Bandura (1994), a model does more than simply provide an example to which one can assert whether they will succeed or fail, a model can also teach an observer.

A third influence of self-efficacy is that of social persuasion. A motivational speaker can provide encouragement towards an individual to perform a task, and conversely, one who verbally doubts an individual’s ability to perform a task will cause that individual to “dwell on personal deficiencies” in the face of a similar situation (Bandura, 1994, para. 8). It is easier, according to Bandura (1994) to negative influence ones efficacy verbally then it is to positively influence it. Positive appraisals will be ignored if an individual believes that they are incapable of performing a task. Supportive relationships will enhance one’s sense of efficacy (Bandura et al., 2003).

Finally, reducing an individual’s level of stress can also have an impact on efficacy (Bandura, 1994). If one has an elevated level of stress, he or she will view the resulting tensions as a “sign of vulnerability” and thus blame any resulting failures on this as well as create a sense of self-doubt for future activities when similar stresses are realized (Bandura, 1994, para. 11). Furthermore, an individual will assert that a physical debility results from fatigue, or aches.

Bandura et al. (2003), asserted that individuals whom have a high sense of self-efficacy view failures and setbacks as motivation to work harder. However, those with a low sense of efficacy will see those same issues as reason to give up (Bandura et al., 2003). That is to say, an individual with low self-efficacy will avoid putting in the extra effort it may take to accomplish a task (Bandura, 2007). Self-efficacy then, can be used as a predictive measure for one’s ability to go above and beyond.

Criticism’s of Self-Efficacy

Criticism’s of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy include Hagen’s (2007) assertion that continual praise creates a false sense of ability. That is, if a student who is failing is continually told he or she is doing a good job, the student will have little urgency to try to better oneself. “Self-efficacy comes from the reality of accomplishing a task rather than from praise; further, empty praise raises all sorts of issues related to honesty, trust, and belief” (Hagen, 2007, para. 6). Thus, in order to raise students self-efficacy, one must be certain to do so appropriately.

Further criticism of providing praise is found when Stout (2001) discussed the dumbing down of education in America. Stout suggested that self-esteem ought to come through a student’s successes. The motivation to build one’s efficacy, according to Stout, is coming at the expense of academic success as students are being provided evaluations they do not deserve in order to save their feelings.

Additionally, efficacy measurements have been criticized for their generality (McMaugh & Debus, 1998). That is, seeking an individual’s general competence and supplying him with positive feedback will result in a student not focusing on areas of potential weaknesses. Not evaluating a specific academic task can result in a student having a wrongful self image.

Further criticism of self-efficacy occurs when Hawkins (1995) questions “whether attitudes cause behavior or whether behavior causes attitudes” (p. 238). That is, Hawkins maintained that it is not ones attitudes which cause an individual to act, rather, it is his or her actions which cause them to believe. Although Hawkins does believe that self-efficacy can be utilized as a predictor there may be superior factors which influence an individual’s performance than self-efficacy, such as gender.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Theoretical Framework - Social Learning Theory

The belief one has in his own abilities, Albert Bandura (1994) refers to as self-efficacy. This belief, Bandura (1994) revealed, enhances an individual’s ability to accomplish desired goals, as well as his personal well being. According to Crain (2005), the theory of self-efficacy was created from Bandura’s social learning theory which stated that one acquires information through observation. Bandura asserted that observational learning, in social settings, allows for an individual to learn more rapidly. Bandura concluded that social learning can occur in four modes; no-trial, cognitive, vicarious reinforcement, and symbolic. Each of these modes involves an individual observing from another.

Social Learning Theory

Social learning involves four components; attentional, retention, motor reproduction, and motivational processes (Crain, 2005). Attentional, according to Bandura (1977) is an individual’s attention to a model. Accurate perception of a behavior allows for it to be easily recreated. Modeling can vary in its effectiveness. That is, a model which is considered to be highly influential will have a greater affect on those whom he or she is modeling towards.

The retention process is one’s ability to recall a modeled behavior when the model is no longer present (Bandura, 1977). The observer then, must retain the behaviors of the model in symbolic form, and imitate those behaviors at a later time. In addition to this, the observer must also rehearse the models actions, be it mentally or physically. Doing so, allows the observer to be less likely to forget the modeled behavior.

The third process involved in modeling is motor reproduction. Motor reproduction is essentially one’s ability to perform a modeled activity. Bandura (1977) stated, “learners who possess the constituent elements can easily integrate them to produce the new patterns; but if some of these response components are lacking, behavioral reproduction will be faulty” (p. 28). Bandura expanded on this idea asserting that skills are not developed through trial-and-error alone. That is, an individual who fumbles through an activity, despite observing a respected model, will not achieve the desired outcome if he or she is incapable of performing the activity to begin with.

Finally, the motivational process is that which encourages an individual to perform a modeled activity. An individual, Bandura (1977) posited, is “more likely to adopt modeled behavior if it results in outcomes they value than if it has unrewarding or punishing effects” (p. 28). In referencing Bandura, Crane (2005) placed this into perspective through stating “if a boy sees his neighbor admired for swearing, the boy is likely to imitate him. If he sees the neighbor punished, he is less likely to do so” (p. 201). Thus, if the risk outweighs the reward, a modeled behavior may be ignored. In addition to this, motivation is best provided prior to the individual performing the modeled act rather than “waiting until they happen to imitate a model” (Bandura, 1977, p. 37). That is to say, individuals will perform at a higher level if they recognize the reward prior to committing to the action. Furthermore, if individuals can relate to the model, they are more likely to act upon the modeled behavior.