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Do children learn better with male teachers?

A recent article in The Daily Mail suggested pupils make more effort with male teachers as they are seen as more fair. The article was based on information from a study by researchers from Westminster University, the London School of Economics and the graduate business school INSEAD who carried out an experiment involving 1,200 pupils aged 12-13 in 29 schools. They wanted to explore what shaped children’s effort, motivation and educational achievement.

“Each pupil received £2 and was asked to buy up to ten questions, priced 20p each. The questions involved having to define the meaning of words. A correct answer doubled their money each time while an incorrect one forfeited 20p. Therefore, pupils who tried ten questions and got them all correct could earn £4. In one group, marking was done anonymously by an external examiner. In the other, marking was done by the teacher in the classroom.” (, 30th Oct 2010)

In the study there were 9 male and 18 female teachers and it explored the number of questions the pupils bought in each group, their perceptions of grading and willingness to make effort.

There wasn’t much difference in the number of questions purchased between the groups but when the marking was done by the teacher, pupils bought significantly more questions when they were assessed by men.

“The study found that male teachers foster self esteem, perceptions of fairness, but that they are no more lenient than female teachers.” (, 30th Oct 2010)

This is particularly interesting at a time when male secondary school teacher numbers are dropping and many primary schools have no male teachers. Also, at 121 Home Tutors we frequently find parents request female tutors, maybe because they feel more comfortable with a woman teaching their child? But, could this mean they are doing their child an academic disservice?

A study carried out in the USA in 2006 by the Hoover Institute also concluded boys learn better from male teachers and that having a teacher of the opposite sex can hinder a boy’s academic progress.  Men are more likely to include games and competition in their teaching methods which can work very well in a one to one tutoring situation.

So before you rule out the idea of a male tutor give 121 Home Tutors a call and chat through the options. Who knows, the perfect tutor for your child in Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow & Cheshire areas might just be a chap!

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