Friday, February 14, 2014

Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot (Groucho Marx)

I had an interesting conversation with one of my former students (she's now in Year 11 at school) about the merits of male teachers and female teachers.

Actually it wasn't much of a conversation. But it was interesting.

I had asked her how she was doing and she had said, "Good' and then listed her teachers for this new academic year. Three were male which she noticed as she told them to me. Her next statement was, "I love having male teachers - they don't have different moods and I get on with them better than female teachers".

"Oh", I said and wished her a groovy day!

I've written before about the feminising of the teaching profession but I haven't considered the different styles between the sexes much. 

I think it's probably a given that men and women teach differently but I don't buy the student's idea that females are more moody compared to men. I think it's more that the age of the men she currently has as teachers are on the mature side (yep - they're old dudes) whereas the female staff are generally much younger. Hormonally speaking, men have testosterone 'surges' just as women have estrogen and progesterone rises and falls.  

A research study I read recently had this to say:
Student evaluations are a common, if flawed, method for faculty to receive feedback about their teaching. Research has shown that students’ evaluations can be significantly influenced by the gender of their instructors. Many studies reveal that students tend to rate female faculty members’ differently than male faculty members Reasons for these findings are multifaceted. For example, students may hold biased perceptions of the differences between men and women faculty.   
The student I talked with may be seen as echoing a belief that female and male teachers are a certain way because of some shallow perceptions. She rates me higher as a teacher because she got on better with me than she did the female teacher I replaced - even though she was an excellent teacher.

I think I've just discovered another reason why I'm suspicious of student evaluations!

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