Courageous Conversations: Reflections on a Queer Life Narrative Model

Oct. 07, 2010

Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 233 – 243. (October 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Much has been written about the challenges facing gay and lesbian educators working in K–12 environments, yet little is written about queer preservice teachers who are preparing to enter the profession.

As such, this paper examines the interconnection between Australian queer teacher educator and a lesbian preservice teacher as they work collaboratively to break the discursive silence of queerness in teacher education.

Life Narrative Model

A queer teacher educator, who is the author of this article, and a lesbian preservice teacher framed their research methodology and used Queer life narrative model. Individually, the author and the preservice teacher came up with a list of questions they wanted to ask each other.
During their next meeting, they reviewed both lists, and narrowed these questions down to eight. Negotiation of the content of these questions was a fundamental process in ensuring that both researcher and participant had a sense of comfort with the questions. The author provided the preservice teacher with a journal to respond to the eight questions prior to their meeting.

At a later date, the author and the preservice teacher conducted the joint-interview, which they tape recorded, and the author later transcribed. As questions could be seen as personal or sensitive in nature, the preservice teacher asked the author each question first, which was part of the reciprocity in the process that the author desired. Once the author answered the question, she then answered the same question.

Reflections of the Queer Life Narrative Model

The preservice teacher and the author conducted a follow-up meeting to explore her experiences with our queer life narrative model. With little research to draw on in regards to supporting queer preservice teachers, the author wanted to hear how the model worked for her. To do this he supplied the preservice teacher with six questions focusing on her experience with their queer life narrative model. Again, the author asked the preservice teacher to journal her answers, which was followed by an interview.

Final Thoughts

In the field of teacher education, visibility and support from queer teacher educators offers a location for mentoring and support as queer students negotiate their queer identity in both the university and K–12 setting concurrently (Evans, 1999). The article is a call for dialogue about ways for queer teacher educators to support queer preservice teachers, who often must navigate their queer identities in both the university and K–12 environment concurrently.

Evans, K. (1999). When queer and teacher meet. In W. J. Letts IV & J. T. Sears (Eds.), Queering elementary education: Advancing the dialogue about sexualities and schooling
(pp. 237–246). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Updated: Jan. 23, 2011