Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

Poll: Is it sexist and outdated for pupils to call teachers ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’?

PUBLISHED: 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.

The hoardings around a new Joules store under construction in Ipswich have come away, revealing the brand’s trademark yellow facade.

Couples thinking about having a baby are invited to meet fertility experts at an information day.

Damage was caused to the windows and wing mirrors of several vehicles in Felixstowe over the weekend.

Visitors will be able to learn more about Ipswich Hospital’s vision for the future and see some of its innovative equipment in action during an open day.

Months of major roadworks on a key route into Bury St Edmunds are set to start, as a double roundabout is removed under £2.8million plans to improve roads across the town.

A decomposing whale carcass did little to deter visitors from the Suffolk seaside today- though many onlookers said its removal was already overdue.

An animal lover who travelled hundreds of miles from her Suffolk home to give a new life to an unwanted breeding dog has launched an appeal to help pay for veterinary care.

Hollywood film star Russell Crowe referred to singer Ed Sheeran staying at his farm with fiancée Cherry Seaborn - but will the pair marry in Suffolk?

Easton and Otley College’s ‘Big Day Out’ returned after a three year hiatus yesterday - attracting thousands to the Otley campus.

An 18-year-old Ipswich man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a teenage boy during a fight in the town.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24