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The gender of primary school teachers has no bearing on how they enforce discipline in the classroom.

That from a University of Hertfordshire study who've been looking into the stereotypes of the profession.

As education suffers a recruitment and retention crisis, researchers also say primary school teaching ought not to be seen as a 'female' profession.

They're hoping the findings will help to de-gender attitudes towards primary teaching and encourage more men to consider a career in the sector. More than 85 percent of teachers in primary schools in the UK are women.



Dr Joanne McDowell, lead author and Principal Lecturer in English Language & Communication at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "Teaching is often thought as only suitable for those with female characteristics. 

Furthermore, we see recurrent government incentives trying to recruit more men with claims that they are needed to enforce 'tough' discipline and to be a 'male' role model to control boys, all claimed to be needed in order to close the persistent gender achievement gap. However, all this does is create further misleading job stereotypes".

Dr McDowell continued: "By raising awareness of primary school teachers' linguistic behaviour we may be able to start de-gendering attitudes towards the job and only then may we see more men taking up such professional occupations.

To shift the thinking about professions in a gendered way, we need to examine how they are linguistically performed and the professional identity that is constructed. Examining language can be the key to re-thinking these occupations and more still, who can work within them.

De-stereotyping who we think can perform the role is of key importance as we need more qualified teachers in the UK. We need to stop thinking about occupations in gendered ways in order to recruit more of the 'other' genders into such roles.

We need more male teachers not because men bring something 'different' to the role as government and recruitment initiatives may suggest, but because we need more teachers; and pupils need teachers that are representative of society".



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