Did your teacher’s gender affect your learning?

An interesting article in the Washington Post mentions a study by a local professor (local for me).

[Thomas] Dee says his research supports his point, that gender matters when it comes to learning. Specifically, as he describes it, having a teacher of the opposite sex hurts a student’s academic progress. … For example, with a female teacher, boys were more likely to be seen as disruptive. Girls were less likely to be considered inattentive or disorderly.

I find this interesting – mostly because it was not true for my education. I can remember more male teachers who made an impact on me and my education than female – in fact I can think of more female teachers who made no impact on me than male. The problem with studies like this is that they are based on generalizations – and can give people the wrong idea.


  1. I think maybe they do not consider everything. I know that in the school I went to, students usually misbehaved if they thought (or if they KNEW) they could get away with it.

    What’s more, note that he says that while boys are more destructive under female teachers, girls are more inclined to think the class wont’ be useful in the future under male teachers. Destructiveness = Uselessness? I don’t think so. It doesn’t seem like he’s comparing something against a common factor.

    I think he’d’ve been better pressed to work on showing what makes a good teacher or a bad teacher. Or how teachers can tailor their teaching in such a way as to appeal to the experiences and sensibilities of both sexes.

  2. I agree that he’s not comparing on a common factor – but he’s just showing that in both cases having a teacher of the opposite sex causes a negative behavior/feeling in the student.

    Like I said I don’t agree with making generalizations, I was just wondering if any of you felt that this model matched your or your children’s experiences.

  3. This study is pure nonsense in my opinion. I am a male and the teacher that had the greatest impact on me was a female. I do not think that her gender affected by academic progress at all. What did affect my academic progress was the fact that at that time in my crazy adolescent life, she was teacher who I thought actually cared about me, and she would not let me get away with not doing my best. I think all good teachers can do that, male or female.

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