A study has found that pupils make more effort to please, display greater self-esteem and are more likely to believe they are being treated fairly, when the teacher is male.
Researchers from Westminster University, the London School of Economics and the graduate business school INSEAD carried out an experiment involving 1,200 pupils aged 12-13 in 29 schools.
The study, commissioned by the Department for Education under Labour, was aimed at discovering what shaped youngsters' effort, motivation and educational achievement.
Each pupil received 2 pounds and was asked to buy up to ten questions, priced 20p each. The questions involved having to define the meaning of words.
A correct answer doubled their money each time while an incorrect one forfeited 20p. Therefore, pupils who tried ten questions and got them all correct could earn 4 pounds.
There were nine male teachers and 18 female teachers in the study, which compared the number of questions bought across both groups and measured pupils' perceptions of the grading and their willingness to make effort using questionnaires.
In the group where the teacher did the marking, pupils bought significantly more questions when assessed by men.
Children had a more 'positive perception of the rewards' of their effort despite the fact the males were not any more lenient.
Researchers said the findings were 'new and significant' as the effects were evident for every male teacher in the experiment.
They said the study 'reveals that pupils taught by male teachers tend to have better perceptions of the importance of hard work, better perceptions of equalities of opportunities and higher self-esteem.
"This experiment shows that male teachers may be beneficial for both male and female pupils, increasing motivation and effort," the Daily Mail quoted the researchers as stating.