Wednesday, August 29

Fact Check - Do boys really learn better from female teachers?

It lacked the historical levity of "Dewey Defeats Truman" or the gut-wrenching gravitas of "12 Found Alive in W.Va. Coal Mine," but on Monday the Ottawa Citizen made a fine contribution to the world's treasury of incorrect newspaper headlines: "Boys read better when they're taught by a woman, study finds."

Indeed, the study, which appeared in the May issue of feminist behavioral science journal Sex Roles, found no such thing. While researchers did indeed "question an international drive to recruit more male teachers into elementary schools to improve boys' literacy," as the Citizen's Janice Tibbets reported, they also deliberately warned against concluding that "young boys have a better chance of learning to read when they are taught by women rather than men."

According to statistics, men are less likely than ever to choose a teaching career. The total percentage of male teachers fell from 41 per cent in 1989 to 35 per cent a decade later, according to Statistics Canada. And that trend is accelerating as older teachers retire. An article in the June edition of the Ontario College of Teachers' magazine, Professionally Speaking, notes that only 27 per cent of students currently enrolled in the province's teacher education programs are male. As of 2006, men comprised just one in five primary-junior teachers.

LINK: Entire story at Maclean's

No comments: