By Alex M. Williams (Unitec Institute of Technology, NZ)
Published in the NZRECE Journal, Vol. 12, 2009, pp. 33 - 44. (go to the Journal page on the childforum website for more)
The highly gendered nature of early childhood education is highlighted by the statistical reality that currently less than two percent of early childhood educators in New Zealand are men. This situation is of significant concern and has potentially negative implications, not only for the early childhood educational experiences for both boys and girls but also for the sector as a whole. This paper explores the notion that men in the early childhood sector, as a statistical minority, may be perceived in terms of being unusual, different and even perhaps as outsiders.
An analysis of nine ‘Personal Stories’ posted on the TeachNZ (the recruiting arm of the Ministry of Education) website was conducted to gain an insight into how men in early childhood education can be unintentionally positioned as outside the norm and how the differences between men and women early childhood educators can be accentuated within this specific context (i.e., the TeachNZ website). This paper considers how such positioning of men within the early childhood education sector not only highlights the difference and otherness of men within the sector but may also actively contribute to the perpetuation of such a perception.
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