MEN ARE A MINORITY IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: UNIVERSITY FACULTY CAN HELP RESTORE GENDER BALANCE IN SCHOOLS
Mount Vernon Nazarene University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND RESEARCH QUESTION
It is globally known that men are under-represented in the field of early childhood education (Zeringo & Baldwin-LeClair, 2001; Hansen & Mulholland, 2005). It is also known that male teachers are considered to be an asset (King, 2005; Noddings, 2005; Tyre, 2008) in early childhood classrooms while simultaneously facing barriers in the profession (Foster & Newman, 2005). These challenges include the feminization schooling and hegemonic masculinity in schools (Nelson, 2002). Even so, men want to teach (Rodriguez, 1997). These tensions prompted the research question for this study: how can university faculty validate the unique strengths of male early childhood pre-service teachers and diminish their challenges? The purpose of this paper is to provide university faculty, and other stakeholders, with strategies to support male early childhood pre-service teachers thus enriching schools once these students formally enter the early childhood classrooms.
This qualitative ethnographic study focuses on the experience of being male in the field of early childhood education, both on the university campus and in early childhood classrooms. Six undergraduate male early childhood pre-service teachers were active participants. Observation, interviews, questionnaires, and narratives were the methods used to provide for a holistic outlook and contextualization with an emic perspective. The participants reflect upon their experiences in the context of the literature and provide strategies for reimaging the university classroom.
This paper adds to the body of research by offering solutions specifically applicable to university faculty. The participants made it very clear that men are not better than women; women also make phenomenal contributions to the lives of young children and their families. It is their opinion that it is important to have men in the early childhood classrooms for gender equality and diversity. The hope is university faculty will become change agents in promoting gender balance in early childhood classrooms transforming the landscape of primary schools.
Keywords: Male teachers, early childhood, faculty, gender, diversity, transformation.