Here is a little update on the presentation I did at the TAEYC Conference. I had about 20 participants, a 60/40 mix of females and males.
Overall, there were less than I expected but it was a great group. I did note that of those that attended, most of the people were high level administration or high level trainers in the ECE field. Everyone participated fully and they almost seemed desperate to talk and get their thoughts out. My time went by very quickly and in the end, the action planning time was brief. When time was up more than half the participants stayed after to speak to me personally and were most likely late to see Dr. Bruce Perry the keynote. I got three informal invites to present the Men in ECE topic at other engagements including the SECA (Southern Early Childhood Association) conference. I did gather contact info from the participants and have already made follow up contact. I think it was a successful start!
My participants were really spread out across the state so I am really overwhelmed about how to keep this good momentum going. I will share my contact info so they can be put on the Menteach list. For now I am going to try and focus locally in east TN. I am gathering a list of as many male teachers as I can in the Knoxville area and sometime before the first of the year I am going to contact everyone to try and organize a regular men's support group. As far as the rest of the state, I have some ideas I am going to work on but I'll have to share those later. As always, I am open to any and all ideas and or suggestions.
Michael Butler Lantz
[MenTeach: Here are recommendations from Ron Blatz]
When I have done workshops on the topic I have either:
Shared my perspectives of watching men and women do the work of ECE differently (generally speaking) and how I have pondered the fact that our ECE programs are more reflective of the family of the 70's and not very reflective of today's families with lots of Dad/male involvement. This usually is cause for lots of conversation and questions and before your know it 1.5 hours are gone.
Or at my all-time favourite meeting, we watched the 40 minute DVD that Frances Carlson (ECE trainer) from Chattahoochee College in Georgia made a couple of years ago. It is called "Recruiting and Retaining Men in ECE" or something like that. I've loaned my copy out so I'm kind of going by memory. It is a great DVD and touches on all the important issues. You should get your hands on a copy. At the particular meeting I'm referring to we just watched the video and then went around the circle and let every person share their comment on what they had just seen. The sharing went on for almost an hour and a half and I had to shut it down. It was so inspirational for everyone who came. This too can be a great way to do a workshop and it is almost effortless to prepare for. I'll copy Frances in on this e-mail and she can tell you how you can get a copy of this most excellent video. This is a must see DVD.
For your reading pleasure I'll attached a few articles etc. that you might find helpful as well. Opps - computer problems and our server is under repair, so will send the articles another time. Please do let me know how this workshop goes for you. Hope you don't mind, but I'll add you to my growing list of interested people who get my Men in ECE e-mails from time to time. I'd also refer you to Bryan Nelson of www.MenTeach.org for any other information you might be looking for especially from an American perspective. Bryan is one of the most knowledgeable people on this topic that I know of and you really need to touch base with him.
Hope that helps a bit and BRAVO once again for courageously stepping out and bringing this issue to light. Before you know it you will be the expert on this topic in Tennessee!
[MenTeach: Here are recommendations from Bryan Nelson]
As you mentioned you want people to be motivated to take action - just be certain to have a very specific plan of action for your group before the end of your workshop.
For example, is there going to be a MECE planning group in your region?
Do you want to do an event that people will participate in?
Make certain you also get names, e-mails and phone numbers for follow-up (if you send them to me I'll put people on the MenTeach E-News mailing list).
What two things are people going to do to help recruit more men when they go home?
I have found it useful to have people break into smaller groups to talk otherwise one or two people in a group of 80 can sidetrack the conversation and take up a large amount of your time. And then I find if you have people announce their next steps to the larger group you get more results.
In summary, giving participants a specific action they can take is more effective then giving information and having discussions.
Let us know how it goes!
And of course, have fun!