Gender, Race, and the Politics of Role Modelling
The Influence of Male Teachers
Routledge – 2012 – 274 pages
Series: Routledge Research in Education
This book provides an illuminating account of teachers’ own reflections on their experiences of teaching in urban schools. It was conceived as a direct response to policy-related and media-generated concerns about male teacher shortage and offers a critique of the call for more male role models in elementary schools to address important issues regarding gender, race and the politics of representation. By including the perspectives of minority teachers and students, and by drawing on feminist, queer and anti-racist frameworks, this book rejects the familiar tendency to resort to role modelling as a basis for explaining or addressing boys’ disaffection with schooling. Indeed, the authors argue, on the basis of their research in urban schools in Canada and Australia, that educational policy concerned with male teacher shortage and the plight of disadvantaged minority boys would benefit from engaging with analytic perspectives and empirical literature that takes readers beyond hegemonic discourses of role modelling. A compelling case is presented for the need to disarticulate discourses about role modelling from a politics of representation that is committed to addressing the reality of the impact of racial and structural inequalities on both minority teachers and students’ participation in the education system. The book also provides insight into the persistence of gender inequality as it relates to the status of elementary school teaching as women’s work.
"Not since William F. Pinar’s highly original The Gender of Racial Politics and Violence in America has a book offered a more audacious and intellectually rigorous analysis of the volatile intersection of gender and race in education. What distinguishes Martino and Rezai-Rashti’s book is a relentless commitment to critical empiricism and grounded theory. What the reader will find in Gender, Race and the Politics of Role Modeling: The Influence of Male Teachers is a refreshing refusal of the easy dogmatism that mars a lot of contemporary writing on gender and racial inequality in education. Theoretical insight on race and gender inequality in schooling is at every point well-earned and connected to empirically supportable inferences. Gender, Race and the Politics of Role Modeling: The Influence of Male Teachers is a methodologically innovative and theoretically sophisticated book – a long overdue and empirically-informed intervention into an area of curriculum and pedagogical practice that has been kept at arm’s-length by both mainstream and radical education scholars." – Cameron McCarthy, Director of Global Studies and Education at the University of Illinois-Urbana
"This book is a 'must read' for anyone wondering whether boys do better at school if taught by men teachers. The authors explode the myths around male teachers as role models in a scholarly but hugely readable way. In this book we hear the voices of teachers themselves and the boys and girls they work with. We learn that it is not only gender but also sexuality, race and ethnicity that shape teachers’ lives and professional interactions with students. Wayne Martino and Goli Rezai-Reshati have used their considerable knowledge and understanding of gender, race and the politics around ‘role modelling’ to offer more reliable and nuanced understandings of teachers’ lives than popularist assumptions suggest." – Christine Skelton, Professor of Gender Equality in Education, University of Birmingham UK
"Everybody knows that boys need good male role models and that the current 'crisis' of boys in schools is caused, in part, by the shortage of male teachers, especially at the lower grades. Unfortunately, as Wayne Martino and Goli Rezai-Rashti show in this thoughtful book, what 'everybody knows' turns out not to be true at all! Based on compelling empirical research, rather than stereotypic assumptions, Martino and Rezai-Rashti reframe the debate about boys in school, and thus finally point the way to a national conversation about the right issues. This modest empirical study is revolutionary in its implications." – Michael Kimmel, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Sociology, author of GUYLAND
1. Introduction 2. Male Teacher Shortage and the Politics of Representation 3. Black Teachers’ Narratives About Role Modelling and Representation 4. Beyond Race-Role Modelling: Black Male Teachers as Organic Intellectuals 5. The Question of Male Privilege 6. The Scourge of Repressive Female Authority 7. The Case of Male Bonding and the Demonization of Female Teachers 8. The Lure of Hegemonic Masculinity for Male Elementary School Teachers 9. The Politics of Multiculturalism, Representation and Role Modelling in a Multi-Racial Muslim School Community 10. Do the Gender and Race of Teachers Really Matter? Students’ Perspectives on Role Modelling 11. Conclusion: Towards a Social Imaginary Beyond Role Modelling
Wayne Martino is Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education at The University of Western Ontario, Canada. Goli Rezai-Rashti is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Western Ontario, Canada.