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pp. 117 48.

teaching and gender

Linda Grant and Linda Renzulli

The study of teachers and teaching has always
been an important focus of sociology of edu
cation, but the analysis of links between teach
ing and gender has developed more recently. As
Grant and Murray (1999) contend, K 12 teach
ing and postsecondary teaching are two differ
ent occupations and thus relationships between
gender and teaching differ at each level. Other
researchers have studied gender as it affects
pedagogy and curriculum at all levels of school
ing. Finally, some scholars, especially those
working from a feminist perspective, have
explored what students learn about gender in
schooling, and how teachers intentionally or
not affect the gender climates of educational

particularly important for understanding tea
chers careers, satisfaction, turnover, and stu
dent achievement.
Cross national research on teachers and teach
ing examine similar issues. Questions of teacher
quality pervade educational reform in many
national contexts. Recent data indicates that in
many countries a large proportion of teachers
are working without minimum qualifications.
While concern over teacher quality appears in
many nations reform agendas, little research
supports the contention that variation in teacher
quality cross nationally explains national differ
ences in student achievement.
Like the US, comparative studies reveal that
many countries have trouble recruiting and
retaining qualified teachers. This can be par
tially explained by teacher pay. While the sal
aries of experienced teachers studied by the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development range from less than US$10,000
in Poland and the Slovak Republic to US
$45,000 and more in Germany, Japan, Korea,
Luxembourg, and Switzerland, there is agree
ment among teachers that teaching provides
inadequate financial reward. Of those countries
that share the USs staffing problems, the most
frequent solutions include out of field teaching
and increasing other teachers workloads. Inter
estingly, staffing problems are not universal.
Several nations, such as Greece and Korea,
actually have an oversupply of teachers, which
also introduces policy challenges.
Despite unique contexts, tremendous demands
are being placed on teachers in their multiple
roles. Debates about teacher quality, profes
sional status, preparation, and placement persist.
Continued sociological exploration of teachers
and teaching is imperative for understanding
these issues.

SEE ALSO: Education; Professions; Profes
sors; Teaching and Gender


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