‘Troops to Teachers’: solving the problem of working-class masculinity in the classroom?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

6 Citations (Scopus)


The UK government’s White Paper on Education, The Importance of Teaching (2010), includes a proposal (Troops to Teachers) to encourage ex-service personnel to train as teachers: this paper presents a critical analysis of the discussions promoting the initiative. Firstly, it is argued that the initiative attempts a rapprochement between ‘reputation’ and ‘respectability’ (McDowell, 2003) by presenting ‘military masculinity’ as the solution to problematic ‘protest masculinity’. Secondly, the paper highlights three contradictions that emerge when the proposal is read alongside broader educational policy: teaching as a career only for high academic achievers versus teaching as appropriate for those with low levels of educational attainment; education as offering everyone the same opportunities versus practices which intentionally segment educational experience along class lines; and male teachers as the embodiment of traditional masculinity or as undermining gender stereotypes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223 - 241
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship

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