10 SES 09 D, Reforming Teacher Educators’ Professionalism And Pedagogy: Looking for landmarks in a changing Europe
Similar to the other countries all around the world, very limited number of males prefer to choose early child education because of the stereotypes about gender and work. That is to say, despite the increasing numbers of male preschool teachers in education sector in Turkey, early child education is still perceived to be a female occupation. As Sumsion (1999) stated, since early childhood is attributed to females as a career choice, men feel anxious about being falsely accused of child sexual abuse, relatively low pay and lack of career path. There has been an increasing attention to the professional identity building and experiences of women and man employees in other-gender dominated fields and occupations. One of these fields is the males as preschool teachers in a female-dominated context. According to Lerseth (2013) professional identity appears to be on a continuum which is constantly shifting and reshaping to form identity through experiences and reflections. Teacher identity refers to “a person’s individuality uniqueness, or characteristics which sets one apart, is related to teacher development in important ways”.
The sociologist Christine L. Williams who has studied men in female occupations in North America asserts that that the male minority in female-dominated jobs come across with great prejudices and often take “the glass escalator” to career positions (Williams 1995; akt. Nordberg, 2002). Recently, the professional and pedagogical tensions and career pathways of men in early childhood care and education has gained a considerable interest from scholars and researchers with its multifaceted nature in the field of educational studies. For example, Anliak and Beyazturk (2008) explored the perceptions and thoughts of male students in preschool education programs through a focus group study. They found that male students stressed the need to encourage the involvement of male teachers in preschool stage to challenge the traditioanl view of preschool teaching as a woman profession. Stroud, Smith, Ealy and Hurst (2000) documented male preservice teachers’ choice for early childhood education and their attitudes toward the traditional reasons for less favoured male career choices. Results revealed that male students seemed to choose their careers inspired by their professional educators as a role model. In a qualitative study by Sak, Kizilkay, Yilmaz and Dereli (2015), the perspectives about their teachers that are held by two groups of preschool children were compared: one being educated by male teachers and the other by female ones. It was found that regardless of teachers' gender, children felt positive feelings about their teachers and also parents of these children developed good relationships with the male teachers. Relatively, little has been known about the career journeys of male preschool teachers and their future prospects related to self-identity in a highly feminized context. The findings of this study have potential to reveal the complex and multifaceted nature of a gendered profession and some insights about the integration of gender and professional identity tensions reflecting its social, cultural and professional dimensions.
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the gender-professional identity integration of a male Turkish preschool teacher during his ten-years teaching career. Specifically, professional experiences of a male preschool teacher who is among the first male preschool teachers in Turkey will be analyzed through a qualitative study by using a semi-structured interview technique. The main themes emphasized in this study were threefold: A male teacher’s perceptions related to; a) the attitudes of education stakeholders’ perceptions towards a male preschool teacher, b) the advantages and disadvantages of being a male teacher, c) future career plans in a highly female dominated professional context.
Anliak, S., & Beyazturk, D. S. (2008). Career perspectives of male students in early childhood education. Educational studies, 34(4), 309-317. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. Lerseth, K. A. (2013). Identity development among pre-service teacher candidates. Nordberg, M. (2002). Constructing masculinity in women's worlds: Men working as pre-school teachers and hairdressers. NORA: Nordic Journal of Women's Studies, 10(1), 26-37. Sak, R., Kızılkaya, G., Yılmaz, Y., & Dereli, M. (2015). Çocukların Bakış Açısıyla Erkek ve Kadın Okul Öncesi Öğretmenleri. Sakarya Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, (29), 142-162. Stroud, J. C., Smith, L. L., Ealy, L. T., & Hurst, R. (2000). Choosing to teach: Perceptions of male preservice teachers in early childhood and elementary education. Early Child Development and Care, 163(1), 49-60. Sumsion, J. (1999). Critical reflections on the experiences of a male early childhood worker. Gender and Education, 11(4), 455-468.
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