Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Why do men choose to teach early childhood education? A study in interpretive interactionism
by Jordan, J. Curtis, Ph.D., The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2011, 135; 3457160
Abstract (Summary)

The area of early childhood education has been viewed by society as a traditional career choice which is appropriate for females; however men who make the career choice to teach at the early childhood level are often viewed with suspicion or curiosity at the very least. There was very little literature on the topic of males and early childhood to examine. Most of the studies involved males the entire elementary program were minimal. These studies addressed these negative aspects which male early childhood teachers deal with on an everyday basis.

The amount of research conducted on male early childhood teachers who enjoy this profession was scant at best. The majority of the current literature focused on the negative aspects of this career choice and why these men were leaving the field altogether. This study sought to remedy these deficiencies by exploring five male early childhood teachers‘ perceptions about their career choice. An interpretive interactionism study was developed to answer the following questions: (1) How do male teachers who teach at the early childhood level describe how they perceive themselves in this predominantly female occupation? (2) What factors influenced the participants to teach at this level? (3) What special challenges and rewards has each participant faced in his career because of his gender? (4) How does the participant describe his role as a member of a predominantly female faculty?

The five male early childhood teachers were selected using a purposeful sampling technique. The sites for the study, Walker County Schools and Hoover City Schools in central Alabama, were chosen because male teachers would be actively involved in teaching at the early childhood level of school and the sites were in a central location for the researcher. In order to provide a thick, rich description (Geertz, 1973), the researcher used three primary methods of data collection: interviews, observations, and journaling.

The study began in March 2010 and continued through February 2011. The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were coded and recoded using both the traditional method of coding and the NVivo software program. Three themes and eleven subthemes were identified from the analysis of the data. These themes were developed into a narrative report that addressed the findings of the research questions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Christensen, Lois M.
Commitee: Calhoun, Charles, Emfinger, Kay, Kirkland, Lynn, Manning, Maryann
School: The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Department: Early Childhood Education
School Location: United States -- Alabama
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Early childhood education
Keywords: Alabama, Early childhood education, Male teachers
Publication Number: 3457160
ISBN: 978-1-124-67220-5
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