14 SES 02, Schooling in Rural/Urban Settings II
Teaching in a preschool is generally regarded as a female profession. During the period when early childhood education was regarded primarily as childcare, women were considered the natural choice for this occupation. Today, the notion that teaching in a preschool is women’s occupation is a still one of the important reasons that prevent men from becoming a preschool teacher. Although the number of male preschool teachers is increasing, teaching in a preschool is still regarded as a female profession.
In many countries women are expected to play a major role in the education of preschool children. The traditional ideas in the society regarding division of labor are reflected in views regarding who should assume the main role in preschool education.
In contrast, participation of men as teachers in preschool education has become an important issue in Europe and the USA: Male preschool teachers are expected to play an important role in the gender socialization of boys and mechanisms have been put in place to support men in preschool institutions. There are ongoing efforts to promote men’s role in preschool education (Martino, 2008; Owen, 2003; Timmerman & Schreuder, 2008).
Another reason for the absence of male participation in preschool education is patriarchal social roles (Farquhar, 1998). Patriarchal traditions place men into higher positions, often with a higher income. Fathers may educate their own children but they are not expected to provide childcare for other children. However, the literature suggests that male teachers are important role models for young children (Owen, 2003). Male preschool teachers may also have other positive effects on students. Riley, Holmes, Cornwell and Blume (1985), for instance, found that students in male teachers’ classrooms had more positive self-perceptions.
The third reason of limited male participation in preschool education is parental concerns. Many parents have the misconception that male teachers may not provide the appropriate level of care for children as female teachers.
Hence, societal expectations continue to prevent men from becoming a preschool teacher. In contrast, positive experiences with children appear to facilitate men’s decision to become a preschool teacher. Male preschool teachers who later assumed administrative roles reported previous experiences with children, being a parent, and willingnees to help children among the reasons for choosing preschool education as their occupation (Yılmaz & Şahin, 2010).
There are few male preschool teachers in Turkey: In 2011-2012, there were 1310 male preschool teachers in public institutions, which is about 4% of all preschool teachers. This is likely to be an overestimate because some of these teachers may not be actively teaching (Sak, 2005).
Very little is known about the choices, perceptions and experiences of male preschool teachers in Turkey. The aim of the present study is to identify occupational viewpoints of male preschool teachers, their students, and their parents.
The following questions are raised:
What are the occupational viewpoints of male preschool teachers?
What are the parents’ perceptions about having male preschool teachers?
What are the children’s perceptions about having a male preschool teacher?
Farquhar, S-E. (1998). Teaching: A woman-only profession? New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 7, 169-180. Martino, W. J. (2008). Male teachers as role models: Addressing issues of masculinity, pedagogy and the re-masculinization of schooling. Curriculum Inquiry 38(2), 189-223. Riley, T. M.; Holmes, D. L.; Cornwell, D. & Blume ,L. (1985). The male’s role in early childhood education. The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Documents, ED 266863. Owen, C. (2003).Men’s work? Changing the gender mix of the childcare and early years workforce. Facing the Future: Policy Papers. Daycare Trust. University of London, 6, 1-8. Sak, R. (2005). Erkek Okul Öncesi Öğretmenlerinin Göreve Başladıklarında Karşılaştıkları Durumlar ve Bu Öğretmenlerin Velilerinin Erkek Okul Öncesi Öğretmenleri Hakkındaki Görüşleri. Yayımlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi (unpublished dissertation thesis). Ankara: Gazi Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Enstitüsü. Sumsion, J. (2008). Preschool children’s portrayals of their male teacher – A poststructuralist analysis. Critical Issues in Early Childhood Education (Ed. Nicola Yelland). England: Open University Press. Timmerman, G. & Schreuder, P. (2008). Pedagogical professionalism and gender in daycare. Gender and Education, 20(1), 1-14. Yılmaz, A. & Şahin, V. (2010). An exploratory study on the factors which influence professional motivation in male early childhood teachers. Mehmet Akif Ersoy University Journal of Education Faculty,10(20), 66-82.
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