Academics say that traditional teachers’ titles discriminate against women and should be scrapped.
Pupils should no longer call teachers ‘Miss’ or ‘Sir’ because these titles discriminate against women, The Telegraph reports. Academics claim that the use of ‘Sir’ for men and ‘Miss’ for women – no matter whether they’re married or not – is old-fashioned.
The use of ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ goes back centuries. ‘Sir’ was first used in classrooms in the 16th century, when male teachers were trying to reinforce their authority among mainly upper-class boys. ‘Miss’ dates from Victorian times, when pressure was put on women to give up work after they married, with some schools only hiring unmarried female teachers.
Professor Jennifer Coates from Roehampton University said there is no place for titles in the 21st century. “It’s a depressing example of how women are given low status and men, no matter how young or new in the job they are, are given high status,” she said. “Sir is a knight. There weren’t women knights, but ‘Miss’ is ridiculous; it doesn’t match ‘Sir’ at all. It’s just one of the names you can call an unmarried woman.”
One academic has suggested ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.’, followed by the surname, as an alternative to the traditional titles. Professor Sara Mills from Sheffield Hallam University wants schools to go further and use first names. “Sometimes teachers find they can control students more when they try to stress the similarities between them, rather than trying to keep as distant as possible,” she said.
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