Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Teacher perceptions of gender-based differences among elementary school teachers
by Wood, Tracy D., Ph.D., Saint Louis University, 2009, 113; 3405432
Abstract (Summary)

Far fewer males than females work in elementary education today. This deficit may represent an unacceptable balance in elementary teacher gender demographics. The purpose of this study was to examine teacher perceptions of gender-based differences among elementary school teachers. In this mixed-methods study, 217 elementary teachers in four public school districts in the Midwest participated in an online survey and answered questions in three domains: Domain 1: Teacher as Self; Domain II: Teacher to Student; and Domain III: Teacher to Teacher.

Data analysis revealed no statistically significant differences between teachers' perceptions of gender-based differences among elementary school teachers. However, qualitative analysis showed that there were more negative responses on items that pertaining to males than females, especially regarding classroom management, motivation and engagement, and nurturing and sensitivity. Most participants felt that both female and male teachers were collegial and had positive attitudes, although male elementary teachers received more negative responses. More than half of the participants perceived differences between female and male elementary teachers. These differences included female teachers being more nurturing than males, males being more laid back than female teachers as well as more dominant and commanding with their students. Multiple participants felt that male teachers achieved a certain level of success because of their gender. Additionally, survey participants expected their administrators to be male and their office support staff to be female. Four conclusions were drawn regarding the findings of this study: (1) Male elementary teachers were, overall, perceived more negatively than their female colleagues. (2) The majority of participants felt that there were differences between female and male teachers, particularly when it came to their ability to serve as role models and the jobs they were expected to fill in the elementary setting. (3) A vast majority of participants felt that more male elementary teachers were needed in the school setting. (4) Differences between female and male elementary teachers were unclear in many areas.

Gathering perceptions of teachers about their male and female colleagues in the elementary setting allows educators to better understand gender-based differences in the workplace. Understanding these differences could lead to improved teacher education and professional development programs, as well as the recruitment of more males into the field of elementary education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chittooran, Mary M.
School: Saint Louis University
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, School administration, Elementary education
Keywords: Elementary school, Gender differences, Male teacher shortage, Recruitment, Teacher diversity
Publication Number: 3405432
ISBN: 978-1-109-71160-8
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