Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 1°C

min temp: -0°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Poll: Is it sexist and outdated for pupils to call teachers ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’?

18:55 14 May 2014

Academics say pupils should drop the terms 'Sir' and 'Miss'

Academics say pupils should drop the terms 'Sir' and 'Miss'

School pupils should refer to teaching staff by their first names rather than “sexist” titles such as “sir” and “miss”, academics have said.

Senior education experts say the latter has connotations which make them appear less capable than their male counterparts.

In an interview with the Times Educational Supplement (TES), Jennifer Coates, emeritus professor of English language and linguistics at Roehampton University, said it was “depressing” that women teachers were given “low status” compared with men in the same roles.

She said: “’Sir’ is a knight, but ‘miss’ is ridiculous, it doesn’t match ‘sir’ at all.”

Education historian Jacob Middleton told TES the different titles, widely used in schools as opposed to terms including “ma’am”, embodied the “massive status disparity and sexism of former years”.

Professor Sara Mills, a discourse researcher at Sheffield Hallam University, said pupils could instead refer to their teachers by their first names.

She said: “Sometimes teachers find that they try to stress the similarities between them, rather than trying to keep as distant as possible.”

However teachers in Suffolk have opposed the move. The headteacher at Holbrook Academy said “too much familiarity can breed contempt” while the leader of Suffolk and Norfolk Initial Teacher Training said it was important “to denote professional distance between the teacher and pupil”.

Geoff Robinson added that the term ‘Miss’ had become so commonly used that previous connotations had been abandoned. “People don’t actually give it a second thought,” he said.

Have your say in our poll or leave a comment below.

Knives collected from the Bin a Blade amnesty bins.

The number of people caught carrying a bladed weapon in Suffolk has risen to its highest level for six years.

Police sealed off Stone Street in Crowfield during the incident.

A 42-year-old man arrested following a two-day stand-off with police has been released on bail and will be taken into the care of health professionals.

The sunrise over Borley Green. Picture: Pamela Bidwell

The morning skies have been putting on a striking show of colour and light over Suffolk this week.

Crash at Barrack Corner in Ipswich.

A seven-year-old girl was taken to hospital after the car she was travelling in came off the road and hit a wall.

The fire was caused by the sun's reflection in a bedroom mirror. Picture: Richard Wisbey.

An Essex couple have been left homeless after their house caught fire as a result of the sun’s reflection in a mirror.

Bridget Muttock and manager Alison Fallowfield, seated, with some of the home’s other long serving staff.

Carer Bridget Muttock has some heartfelt advice for anyone contemplating retirement in their 60s – don’t do it.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph: Simon Parker.

The hip fracture care at West Suffolk Hospital has been named as the best in East Anglia and the sixth best in the country.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24