THE FEMINIZATION OF TEACHING AND THE PRACTICE OF TEACHING: THREAT OR OPPORTUNITY?

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Abstract

Abstract In this essay, Morwenna Griffiths considers the effect of feminization on the practices of education. She outlines a feminist theory of practice that draws critically on theories of embodiment, diversity, and structures of power to show that any practice is properly seen as fluid, leaky, and viscous. Examining different and competing understandings of “feminization”— referring either to the numbers of women in teaching or to a culture associated with women — Griffith argues that concerns about increasing number of women teachers are misplaced. She complicates the cultural question, observing that masculine practices have a hegemonic form while feminized practices have developed in resistance to these, and she ultimately argues that hegemonic masculinity, not feminization, is the problem because it drives out diversity. Griffiths concludes that the leaky, viscous practices of teaching would benefit from the increased diversity and decreased social stratification feminization brings to the profession.

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