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Comedian Jack Black as Dewey in the 2003 film The School of Rock.

Andrew Schwartz/ Paramount Pictures

In Ontario, just 27 per cent of teachers are male, down from 31 per cent a decade ago. In B.C., 28 per cent of practising teachers are men.

Where are the male teachers? Why are they shying away from the teaching profession? Does an instructor's gender matter?

Urban education consultant and motivational speaker Brett Lesley Cumberbatch took your questions on males and teaching profession. (Read his bio below)

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Guest: I think the crisis facing males, of all ages, and their relation to the secondary education system begin with the Faculties of Education throughout the country. Brett, what are your thoughts about this?

Brett Cumberbatch: I am in agreement with you. I think it occurs on two levels: one, there is not enough communication between faculties of Ed and boards of ed, and the second is that faculties of Ed are research institutions and professional training grounds and both are not treated with equal interest in a lot of cases, some are better than others, but for academics research is mostly almost always first. Educational training is also a sophisticated field and we need to up the level of the professionals in the field and bring in more diverse field experts

Annie Bee Knits: I'm interested in the demographics here. Is there a difference in the rate of decline in male teachers in rural versus urban environments? Are the rates changing more dramatically in elementary or secondary schools?

Brett Cumberbatch: I am not sure but I think you will see more men across the board in the secondary level than in the elementary. The other thing is we have to garner more interest in the field from an early age and get boys interested and involved in teaching early on despite the location - boys everywhere need role-models. However I think the need is more urgent in urban settings because of population size and other factors

Aaron on PEI: Do you think salary levels of teachers deter males from joining/staying with teaching?

Brett Cumberbatch: It is a factor but it is also an excuse to not address the other realities. One of the problems is that universities decide who gets to be a teacher, and they are good at a lot of things but a bit outdated in this element. It's not their fault. A lot of the time they are disconnected from specific needs and there are breakdowns in communication between them and what schools need. I believe if Ontario had an alternative licensing route that was competitive you would see more devoted and qualified men.

Read more by replaying the live chat in the box below. Smartphone users can view a mobile-friendly version of the live chat here.

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Brett Lesley Cumberbatch is an urban education consultant, motivational speaker and instructional trainer. He holds a Hon. B.A. in History from the University of Toronto and a M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate. Mr. Cumberbatch is also a Rotman Executive Education graduate.

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