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ERIC Number: EJ779694
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Role Model, Hero or Champion? Children's Views Concerning Role Models
Bricheno, Patricia; Thornton, Mary
Educational Research, v49 n4 p383-396 Dec 2007
Background: Claims that male role models can improve the behaviour and achievement of boys are familiar and persistent. However, research has not confirmed such a link; recent UK studies indicate that peers and relatives may be far more important to boys than their teachers. Given the seemingly relentless reference to male teachers as role models for boys, the lack of agreement about the concept role model, and the wide variety of role models available, it was felt useful to test whether or not children do tend to see teachers as role models, and to find out who their role models actually are. Purpose: This study explored whether or not children actually see their teachers as role models. It asked children directly who their role models are, and what they regard as important attributes for a role model. Sample: Four schools, in a shire county in south-east England, took part in the study. The schools were in different socio-economic areas, with different intakes of pupils and academic outcomes. A questionnaire was administered to all pupils aged 10 and 11 years present on the day in the two primary (elementary) schools, and to all pupils aged 14 and 16 years in two classes in the two secondary (high) schools. The numbers of boys (197) and girls (182) taking part were very similar, as were the numbers of children in each age group. Socio-economic status, gender and age were used for comparison of results. Design and methods: Data were collected in January 2003. A questionnaire was used, comprising both quantitative and qualitative aspects. A brief explanation of the questionnaire was given together with a dictionary definition of "role model"--i.e. a person you respect, follow, look up to or want to be like. Structured responses were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software program and exploratory factor analysis was used to establish groups of items relating to distinct constructs about role models. Free responses were analysed with the assistance of the QSR N6 software package. All responses were coded according to the demographic information (gender, year group and school) gathered. Results: Young people have a range of role models, and particular reasons for choosing them. Many look to close relatives for their role models. Only 2.4% of all pupils referred to a teacher as a role model. No statistically significant differences were found between role models identified in schools in socially advantaged and disadvantaged areas. Conclusions: There was no indication that children see their teachers as role models. The majority identified loving, caring, friends and relatives from their direct social environment as role models. Despite assertions to the contrary, by government and the mass media, male teachers are not seen as role models by boys in this sample. As a policy prescription to remedy boys' so-called underachievement and laddish behaviour, the promotion of male teachers as role models is, at present, not viable. (Contains 5 tables, 1 figure and 2 notes. Summary of questionnaire, showing order of questions is appended.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom