TEACHERS' PERCEPTIONS OF HETERONORMATIVITY IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: THE HIDDEN AND EVADED CURRICULA OF GENDER DIVERSITY Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
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  • Goodhand, Meg
    • Affiliation: School of Education, Educational Leadership Graduate Program
Abstract
  • The culture of elementary schools has a significant impact on a child's academic, social, and emotional well-being. For schools to be truly equitable for all students, children need to have a sense of belonging and inclusiveness. Unfortunately, research indicates that most schools in the United States tend to perpetuate a heteronormative culture which denies, silences, and stigmatizes children who display any atypical gender behavior and/or are (or perceived to be) lesbian or gay. And, although sexual discourse and gender identity exploration begin in early childhood, there is a significant gap in the educational literature addressing this critical stage of human development. The purpose of this study was to describe elementary educators' beliefs about, awareness of, and willingness to confront heteronormative culture within an elementary setting. This study employed a combination of transformative, queer, and cultural theories (TQCT) for the framework. Both quantitative and qualitative findings were used to assess changes in teachers' perspectives on and readiness to confront homophobia and gender oppression in educational settings. Teachers volunteered to participate in a book club, where they had the opportunity to begin to see the heteronormative culture of their school through various lenses. This study shed light on the importance of providing a transformative learning experience for teachers and its value towards reframing their viewpoints. The results of the intervention study indicated that teachers 1) continue to be fearful to approach this topic of gender and sexual diversity, 2) recognize internal and external barriers to confronting heteronormativity, 3) made growth in their willingness to confront the heteronormative culture through a transformative learning model, 4) desire more support through training, and 5) acknowledge the need to begin earlier rather than later confronting and interrupting heteronormative practices that sustain and reproduce this negative culture. This study concluded that there is a need for strategic practices that confront and interrupt homophobia, through federal policies, building social capital, inclusive curricula, professional development, and a call for social justice leaders within the schools. Since children experience homophobic violence, oppression and discrimination as early as elementary, these recommendations are of utmost importance.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Delaney, Mary Kay
  • Schainker, Stanley
  • Brown, Kathleen
  • Marshall, Catherine
  • Thompson Dorsey, Dana
Degree
  • Doctor of Education
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2014
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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