It’s not a ‘masculine narrative’; it’s positive, exciting and real.

My short response to this silly nonsense (I thought it was sexist and should not have been published):

I am a new teacher. I am also a woman. Let me slam my cards down on the proverbial table: I believe in free speech, I’ll use whatever words I like and I refuse to conform to some Kath Kidson middle class ideal of how a woman should act, look or speak. Secondly, I don’t agree that the use of the following words, phrases and concepts are in any way indicative of a ‘masculine narrative’, nor do I agree that their use is somehow a bad thing:

  • mastery
  • soft bigotry of low expectations
  • core knowledge
  • discipline
  • no-excuses
  • competition
  • rigour
  • silence in corridors

I also don’t agree with the attitude that it is wrong (or ‘male’, however you choose to define it) to sell fast-track promotion or cash bonuses to entice new recruits and help pay their training fees. Many men and women would like to be able to pay the bills and be rewarded financially or via promotion for their hard work. This is normal and healthy because not every one is wealthy enough to teach for purely altruistic reasons. Yes, there are a few wealthy teachers out there, but some of us ordinary folk have families to support.

The above words and phrases I actually find quite exciting and positive and I’ve always felt like this. I have not have my consciousness infiltrated, thank-you-very-much. Many men and women, including myself, find the concept of competition and mastery thrilling. We are motivated by single-minded intellectual pursuit, to become experts in whatever bizarre corner of knowledge and understanding the world offers us. There are many young men and women in our classrooms today who are also budding intellectuals who would really rather not be held back by chatty group-work; these are our future scientists and engineers, for example.

We also know that the world around us is not some kind of glittery playground of fulfillment and happiness; we are painfully aware that our modern, industrialised world is unforgiving and harsh. The words and phrases above reflect the injection of a bit of reality into education because we need our children to have lots of knowledge and an ability to control themselves if they are to have any hope of being able to cope in the adult world that we inhabit.

There is no doubt that this is a new narrative, but it is not masculine. This narrative is positive, exciting and real; it values the academic and it values civilised behaviour. I’m all for it.

Who’s with me?


12 thoughts on “It’s not a ‘masculine narrative’; it’s positive, exciting and real.

  1. I totally agree, QT. Even if Gove had said STEM is hard edged = masculine, he’s long gone. We have a woman SoS and in the shadow cabinet. Isn’t it time we said STEM and Arts are hard edged and neutral so girls and boys both can go for these if they want to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with much of what you say but stem without art is unthinkable. Just think of the beauty in the lines of an Aston Martin or of the symmetry of Westminster Abbey. Yes everyone should be encouraged to embrace Stem but it needs balancing with the arts. That’s why people fought so hard to save Art during the war. It’s why people are devastated about the destruction of antiquities by fundamentalists in Syria. People need art as much as they need stem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quirky, I think the more academically demanding narrative is a welcome and non-gendered viewpoint; teaching to the top for all is a goal I support. Though current grammar school annexes coinciding with the government drive on apprenticeships suggests teaching to the top for all is not the government’s goal, but a return to selection at 11yrs for university or secondary/apprenticeships (bias in school really will be a priority and the primary school even more of a concern for parents).

    I’m not a fan of cash bonuses to entice teachers and would prefer if qualifying for the PGCE was free (I’m not clear on the costs and incentives for all the different routes into teaching these days).


    • Thanks for this. Cash bonuses were never a mainstream thing, and as far as I’m aware they were more for helping with fees or to entice maths and physics teachers, for example. This just reflects that becoming a qualified teacher is an expensive business (I paid 9K for my SCITT: it felt like I was paying to work) and that those with maths and physics degrees can earn so much more elsewhere.


  4. Lol – as always you put it far more succinctly and with greater wit than I could!! I was speaking to my partner and we were talking about the ‘feminine’ stereotype and how true it really is. So while it may have been true for upper class women and aspiring middle class women, as far as I can see it never has been for working class women in this country as you pointed out in response to my blog. Interestingly, the reality of working class women and how they acted and behaved resonates across so many different cultures. Hard-working, strong, resourceful, I could go on but that also seems the stereotype of women around the globe.

    It makes me wonder if this isn’t a class thing. I find it hilarious that words such as success, power, intellectual, academic are suddenly masculine and offensive to ‘feminine’ women (and I presume men!!). Personally I think to go through so many contortions to smear a method of teaching (which to be fair has been the progressive tactic all along to justify their methods) is ridiculous and shows the extent to which progressive educators simply can’t argue against the benefits of a traditional education.

    Also, I find it amusing that if one states one is a feminist, somehow ones ideas are above scrutiny. One’s ideas are ‘complex’ and ‘hard’ to understand (a bit traditional there!!) so the other must be stupid in some way to have not understood the meaning and the patronising idea that they have to personally explain it to you in some way so you can understand. It doesn’t seem to occur to some people that maybe, just maybe, their ideas are not very good, their theories are based on false assumptions and stereotypes in the first place, and that (hell will freeze over now) other people disagree because they see it as plain wrong!!

    Some people like being victims, it brings them attention and sympathy, so best to feign it. If you ‘psychic space’ is that easily disturbed then maybe it’s because you have too much time on your hands!! Most of us have better things to do than be worried about words which have never affected our behaviour or attitudes and seriously have something to be getting on with rather than playing the victim.

    Last but not least, it has not escaped my attention that the same ‘feminists’ who are signalling their victimhood, are the same ones making excuses for children’s abusive behaviour towards teachers. Now there’s a link to explore.


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