Researching the Impact of Men in Early Education Upon Child Outcomes

Finding studies that deal with the impact of men in ECE upon child outcomes has been unexpectedly challenging.  I have found no research that examines this specific topic.  Indeed, studies that look at the impact of men upon children in elementary school settings is rare.  Further challenges are posed by the harsh reality that recent studies (published within the past five years) find no advantage to the presence of male teachers upon child outcomes, focus on same gender outcomes (male teachers/boy students), and do not control for cultural, linguistic or ethnic “matches” between teachers and students.  Furthermore, the absence of men in early education (through the primary grades) promises limited sample sizes – compromising the validity and reliability of the results and discouraging researchers from entertaining the topic in the first place.

As a man that has been involved in the education and family service profession for 30 yeras, I have seen the importance of male involvement in programs that serve children.  I have also experienced the biases, frustrations and low status that come along with being a part of an unacceptably small minority.

I have sent out an inquiry from a professor/colleague asking if he knows of any recent research on the topic.  I also invite all of you who read this to comment with any thoughts, concerns, questions or resources.

My investigations thus far have pointed to a lack of research upon an important deficit and a clear “equity” issue in our profession.  That we have not addressed this reflects poorly upon our committment to anti-bias and inclusion.  Children deserve better.  And so do the men that care for them.

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4 thoughts on “Researching the Impact of Men in Early Education Upon Child Outcomes

  1. Amanda Kline says:

    Gregory,
    I can see how this could be frustrating for you. Your passion for men in the early childhood field is quite evident. Since you are having difficulty focusing on men in the education field, what about a topic related to male involvement with young children and the impact it has on a young child’s development? Just a suggestion, maybe with this research you could encourage more males to play a part in the early childhood education profession! Good luck with everything.
    Amanda

  2. Robbie Hurt says:

    Hi Gregory,
    I have enjoyed reading your post. I see that this topic is dear to you. I look forward to reading more of your research.

  3. Gregory,

    I understand your point of view. Men being an impact in children’s lives is very important. You can tell that you are dedicated and have many beliefs in what you are doing. Many children are growing up in the homes or households that have no male or father figures in their lives, so men impacting their lives is a good thing. The suggestion that Amanda gave you above is a good one. Maybe you can try to just research male involvement in early childhood education or just education and then determine your actual topic once you see where the bulk of your information will be coming from. I wish you well on your research project and this course.

  4. gregoryuba says:

    Thank you all for your comments and encouragement. I have considered such things as focusing on father involvement for which there is more research and “boy-friendly” learning environments, for which there is support in various forms. But the absence of men in ECE is such a glaring issue that I will continue to look in this direction at least for as long as I dare.

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