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Gender Matters


A new study finds that a teacher's gender has a significant effect on students' academic performance, perhaps contributing to national achievement gaps between boys and girls.

What's your view? Do boys learn less effectively from female teachers? If so, why? What strategies can teachers use to negate possible learning issues relating to gender dynamics in the classroom?


I believe that any perceived difference that makes the student less desirable in the teacher's view will effect the way the student is educated and the way he or she wil learn. So, yes, gender differences can cause some teachers to see boys as less desirable students. Over the years I have noted this bias in male and female teachers. Comments are made on how good and quiet she is, how disruptive he is.

Perhaps the key is to view each student as unique, with a right and/or reason to be who she/he is. If we work with a student who is difficult, we can look for ways to help that student to achieve without destroying the class atmosphere. Example - some boys like to move, so allow pencil sharpening, waste basket use, and group work whenever possible. The last has academic merit, but the first two simply allow for some automy of movement without disruption of the class.

Teachers continually fight a pessimistic view of students, fostered by a few teachers, some parents (kids are so bad today), and the community. We have to look for the good in every child while trying to get a handle on how to work with the class and the individuals. Group discussion - no hand raising - does more than advance subject matter, it allows students to be themselves as they offer their ideas while others listen, respectfully. It helps the teacher see each student as an individual, not as pesky boys and good little girls.

Our students WILL NOT enter a world of gender separation, so why should we construct a learning environment that is not reality? I have been teaching in the public and university sector for 23 years. My female students, as a whole, have outperformed my young men. The key here, gentlemen, is to treat your girls as ladies and you conduct yourself as gentlemen and professionals and that will suffice. Showing respect and compassion, regardless of gender, will provide sufficient reason for ALL students to learn.

I am concerned about our willingness and ability to over hype.

In the first sentence it says ‘A teacher’s gender has a significant effect on student academic performance’. Then, in the third paragraph it states “the overall effect of having a woman teacher instead of a man raises the achievement of girls by 4 percent of a standard deviation and lowers the achievement of boys by roughly the same amount. …”

If you think of IQ scores as an analogy, same gender teacher-student dyads would result in an 8% SD swing, or a 1 IQ point difference over different gender dyads. That does not seem to have much practical significance. Given the 20,000 student data set, I don’t doubt that statistical significance was found. I wonder if the practical significance is meaningful.

Ironically, I agree with the behavioral stereotypes listed in the fifth paragraph. It may be the instruction – good or bad – trumps gender pairing – and good teachers don’t behave stereotypically.

Oh Boy! Another excuse for student misbehavior and inattention. Let's place the responsibility back where it belongs: on the students and their parents. I am sick of finding things wrong with teachers. Now its something we have no control over whatsoever. Enough is enough.

I have noticed that from when children go into pre school nursery and the into the infants there
Does not seem to be any male teachers and when children go into the junior school there maybe only one male teacher.

How can children especially boys learn to interact eductionally if only female teachers are in schools through their formative years. It is not right that children cannot learn from both genders in early education. Is this because of Men are more open to accusations of child abuse. issues

It is in a sense obvious to say that boys and girls respond differently to their teachers with respect to their gender. but establishing the statistical significance (or insignificance) is bound to be hopelessly confounded by other factors. Perhaps this is an attempt at justifying the need for more men in teaching, from my chair a laudable premise but one that if held, prejudices the reseachers interpretation. There is often a cry for more male teachers and yet clearly our society, and many men in it are not ready for this change. As evidenced by the lack of interest and the fact that men though a significant minority in teaching do not seem to be recruited actively by schools of education or school districts. I work in a district that has perhaps 8 of 100 teachers male, and hired one male teacher out of 8 open positions in the last round of hiring. So either the male teachers applying are not as good candidates,(which certainly could be the case) or the will to hire more men does not exist. So if there is some genuine need for gender balance in instruction, is anyone willing to do anything about it?

I teach in a school that has actively hired male teachers, so men are well represented in our district. For almost 2 decades our district has shown a marked preference for hiring Hispanic males based on the idea that Hispanic male students will learn better from teachers who are like them. Not only has this not raised our student scores, but the biased hiring has resulted in a cadre of poor teachers whose gender and race too often outweighed their qualifications and ability to teach. Further, the same supposed affirmative action in promotions based on gender and race, has resulted in our district having third-rate administrators. Our students have definitely not benefited from its "will to hire more men," nor have our schools. It is time to forget this sort of social manipulation and simply hire and promote the best qualified people.

I have always understood women teachers better, and they've understood me better. I was taught that there was no difference, but my experience belies that teaching.

I have theory that gender may play a part in acheivement. I think it has more to do with how men and women are perceived by students. Many male students are being raised by mothers only. Many times mothers are perceived to be soft and less of a displinarian. Perhaps male students see female teachers in the same way, so there is less respect. On the other hand, many students do not interact with males often, so perhaps they are a little bit more intimidated. In other words they may show a little more respect for men.

It is interesting to note the findings of the study. How students perceived male and female teachers initially can be different. Nevertheless, overtime, given the right environment and support to teaching and learning, the right disposition of a teacher and respect for students as individuals can eliminate any form of gender discrimination.

I believe educators and researches will come to conclusions that they were looking to prove. There's not much objective research in education, and when the research doesn't match the classroom results, there's something wrong with the students. And you wonder why parents are disgusted?

I am female teacher at university in Ethiopia .I taught for more than a year now,and IN MY CLASS THERE ARE BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS.The boys donot want to attend my class but the girls are interested and are happy in my class than boys.I ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE REASON IS AND I HOPE I CAN FIND THE REASON AND THE SOLUTION AS WELL IN THE NEAR FUTURE.



But does anyone have experience of a male student, (International), intimidating and threatening female staff at all?

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Recent Comments

  • Molly Adams: But does anyone have experience of a male student, (International), read more
  • brittany: hi read more
  • Genet Gelana: I am female teacher at university in Ethiopia .I taught read more
  • Bill/Parent: I believe educators and researches will come to conclusions that read more
  • Faridah Mohamed/ Lecturer in early childhood studies: It is interesting to note the findings of the study. read more




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