Feature: Learners? Views: Gender & Tutoring

Compiled by Lamjin Atoh (lamjin@oum.edu.my)

Is there a difference between male and female tutors as far as learners are concerned? Is one more empathetic or more structured than the other? Here are some views from our learners.

GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION

God created men and women with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, when it comes to the sort of service that is expected in the education sector, equal opportunity should be given to both men and women to prove their worth.

In the early days of Malaysian education, female educators were preferred due to their ?motherly? and caring nature. However, my experience makes me believe that gender is immaterial when it comes to tutoring.

Some tutors may be physically attractive to the opposite sex, but surely learners should know better than to base their preference on such shallow criteria. When it comes to study, learners look for tutors who are flexible and attentive to learners' needs.

Tutors have to make themselves available to the learners to have any kind of impact on their learning. Being workers and family people, learners will naturally have very tight schedules. Whatever little time they have left will be spent participating in tutorials and online learning. Speedy response from tutors in online forums is encouraging to learners. This is surely something that can be expected from any tutor regardless of gender.

Feliza Gabertan
Bachelor of Business Administration
Sabah Learning Centre



LOOKS ALSO COUNT

Ideally, the tutor's gender shouldn't matter. What I look for in a tutor is substance; he or she must be knowledgeable about the subject in order to teach well.

Having said that, I do know that usually learners will prefer attractive tutors of the opposite sex. This is human nature: if we are attracted by the physical appearance of someone, we tend to pay more attention to that person. It doesn't matter if the person is not making any sense at all in front of the classroom, so long as he or she is pleasing to look at. I'm not saying that this is right, I'm just saying it as it is.

The best would be to have a tutor who is attractive, entertaining and at the same time proficient in his or her subject. Learners tend to get put off by tutors who are dull and uninspiring, even if they know their stuff.

Adam Ariffin
Executive Diploma in Business Management
Kuala Lumpur Learning Centre



GENDER NOT AN INDICATOR OF TUTOR'S EFFECTIVENESS

For the past five semesters, I have been tutored by both male and female tutors. In my experience, tutors will do their best to help their learners irrespective of their gender. It is very encouraging to see tutors who are very accommodating when it comes to answering questions from fellow learners, even though the questions are sometimes not related to the topics or subjects.

To me, gender should not be used as an index of a tutor's effectiveness. I would be happy to have a female tutor who is effective, knowledgeable and helpful rather than a male tutor who is not committed.

Peter Galun
Bachelor in Management
Sabah Learning Centre



SUBJECTIVE VIEWS

Does gender play a role in education? Does it determine students' performance and achievements? Does the tutors' gender affect learning? This is a rather controversial topic and is open to a great deal of debate. There are many perspectives to consider and one's opinion on this issue is rather subjective, I think.

I won't absolutely agree that gender determines the performance of a learner but it may influence learner's attitudes to a certain degree. Somehow or rather, it may become a contributing factor depending on the learner's age and education level.

When I was young, I had always preferred female teachers because I thought they were more lenient. Now it doesn't really matter what gender my tutors are. The most important criteria to consider is whether or not they are able to hold my interest and how effective they are in sharing or imparting their knowledge.

Having said that, it would be nice to have a good-looking male tutor from time to time. At least there is something extra to look forward to besides the class!

Suria Jihen
Bachelor of Psychology
Sabah Learning Centre

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As a tutor, I believe that I can help learners to create learning spaces by:

Encouraging them to think independently by giving them short essay tests
 
Encouraging them to work as a group
 
Adding variety to the assignments and encouraging them to think from a different perspective
 
Ensuring that the tutorial room is always conducive for the learners
 
 
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