The gendered, hierarchical construction of teacher identities: Exploring the male primary school teacher voice in Hong Kong

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Abstract

In response to the perceived ‘feminisation’ of primary school teaching, educational authorities in many countries have implemented policies designed to encourage more men to take up teaching positions in primary schools. While challenges to the efficacy of such policies have emerged in the literature, limited attention has been given to the voice of male primary school teachers themselves. Using a qualitative multiple case study approach, this study addresses this imbalance by examining how five male primary school teachers construct professional identities within Hong Kong primary schools. In-depth interviews give voice to these male primary school teachers, revealing the dominant discourses that make available certain identity positions to all primary school teachers in Hong Kong. The study explores how these five teachers exercise individual agency as they struggle to be recognised as competent members of a community of primary school teachers. The case studies also describe the limits to such personal agency, suggesting the need for policy initiatives that support the identity work of all primary school teachers by going beyond calls for the recruitment of greater numbers of male primary teachers. Some of the ways in which educational policy and practice could provide such support are considered and implications for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-517
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online dateOct 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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primary school teacher
Hong Kong
teacher
primary school
primary school teaching
teaching position
educational practice
educational policy
discourse
interview
community

Citation

Trent, J. (2015). The gendered, hierarchical construction of teacher identities: Exploring the male primary school teacher voice in Hong Kong. Journal of Education Policy, 30(4), 500-517.

Keywords

  • Men teachers
  • Primary schools
  • Teacher identity