Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Olena Aydarova

Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education ,
Michigan State University, East Lansing, 48824 MI

Perceptions of Teaching and Gender Roles

The declining number of males in secondary education around the world has been widely discussed in literature (Johnson 2008; Mills et al, 2004) and has recently become a topic of policy debate in many countries (Drudy, 2008; Mills et al, 2004). The public has raised concerns that lack of males and predominance of females in teaching may create a gender imbalance that does not promote democratic values that societies desire to perpetuate (Lyn & Riddell, 2009; Skelton 2009). Moreover, this gender imbalance may be a factor in impeding the creation of a quality teaching force (Darling-Hammond et al, 1999; Ingersoll, 2008; Gardner, 1995). Commonly reported is also the apprehension that boys are failing academically because of a lack of male role models in education (! Ridge, 2009).

In attempt to remedy this situation, numerous studies have sought to identify the reasons why few males choose teaching as a profession, ranking the lack of financial benefits the highest (Lortie, 1975, 2002). However, low pay does not prevent males from joining other public service professions, such as fire-fighting or police force. This indicates that perceptions of teaching as a gendered occupation may have greater impact on males than pay. Thus, more empirical evidence of the correlation between perceptions of teaching as a profession and gender identity construction is needed. Such evidence can be of instrumental value for the creation of educational policies that could address this gender imbalance.

The present study examines perceptions of teaching as a profession and their correlation to perceptions of gender roles among college students in the UAE. The study reveals how the negotiation of male identity prevents males from joining teaching. Results suggest that public campaigns emphasizing aspects of teaching that correspond with male gender roles may be more effective in attracting males to teaching than higher pay


OlenaAydarova has taught in Ukraine, US, China, and the UAE. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Teacher Education from Michigan State University, USA. Her research interests include identity construction in teacher education, motivations for choosing teaching, and diversity in the teaching profession.

Keith Kennetz received his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Georgia and his research interests include Perceptual Dialectology, Languages in Contact and Second Language Acquisition. He currently teaches Applied Linguistics courses at the Emirates College for Advanced Education in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Bevin Roue has a B.A. in counseling psychology and an M.A. in linguistics. He has taught writing and conducted teacher training in the US, China, and the UAE. He currently teaches at Michigan State University’s English Language Center. His research interests include language and gender, writer identity, and the writing center as a learning environment.