Experience counts in man's primary world

28th September 2001 at 01:00
SELECTORS recruiting men to primary teacher training should pay more attention to their A-level results, their motivation and their previous experience if they want to reduce the current high drop-out rates.

Male applicants who have done work experience in primary schools would be less likely to be put off by their teaching practice, a new study suggests.

If more men completed their training, this would begin to redress the current imbalance in primary schools, where only 20 per cent of teachers are male, say Pat Bricheno and Mary Thornton of the University of Hertfordshire.

They have found that men were far more likely than women to drop out of their primary education course, especially during the first year. Men were also disproportionately represented in the lower degree classes.

Male students were more likely to drop out because of academic problems than females - the result, probably, of their generally lower A-level scores. But what appeared more significant was the number of men who quit because of problems related to teaching placements. No female students appeared to have dropped out for this reason.

Bricheno and Thornton suggest this might reflect men's dearth of primary classroom experience and lack of motivation to teach younger children.

Email: m.e.thornton@herts.ac.uk

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