Broadening Views of Social Justice and Teacher Leadership: Addressing LGB Issues in Teacher Education

Countries: 
Published: 
Fall, 2010

Source: Issues in Teacher Education, (Fall, 2010), p. 37-52.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This case study explores the immediate impact of LGB-themed instruction by examining
graduate education students’ written reflections following a guest lecture on LGB-related educational issues.

Context for the Study
This study was conducted at a Midwestern public state university in USA
The participants in this study were the instructor who was a heterosexual woman, two guest speakers who were two gay men, and 18 credentialed, master’s degree education students.

By bringing in guest speakers, the instructor introduced her students to current research in education from experts in their fields; moreover, the presenters offered research-based strategies for effective teaching.

Findings and Discussion

Emerging Themes
Several themes emerged from analysis the novice teachers' reflections.

Learning opportunity. Most commonly, 13 students described the presentation as informative; for others, the discussion was consciousness- raising.

Educational Concerns
Classroom management. Two-thirds of the students commented on classroom policies or practices to address LGB issues in schools.

Cultural contexts. Of the respondents, 11 viewed LGB concerns in terms of social justice.
Six students associated the experiences of LGB people with others who have faced discrimination.
Three students connected others’ histories of discrimination with the LGB community’s search for social justice.

Personal dispositions. Half of the reflections included affective reactions to the speakers and/or the presentation.

Seven students identified external barriers that prevent them from advocating for their LGB students and families. The barriers that they pointed to included the challenges of being a new teacher mastering content and classroom management.

The participants in the current study expressed appreciation for the inclusion of LGB-related instruction in their education class; the information presented was seen as new and revealing. No students cited personal religiosity as a barrier to implementing LGB-inclusive instructional practices.

Making Meaning of the Reflections
Educational concerns.
Participants’ hesitancy to advocate for their LGB students may also be understood in view of their geographic location.
To provide all students with equitable access to their education, all teachers, new and experienced, must overcome their fears and lead their classrooms and schools toward a more just community of learners.
Of the 12 students who discussed classroom practices and policies that could be implemented, two students reported actions that they had taken as a result of their participation in the discussion.
 

Conclusion

This study indicates that there are novice teachers who take concrete steps to change their classroom policies and practices to create a safer, more inclusive classroom climate. These changes remain vital to the safety and success of LGB students.

The results of the current study indicate that teachers are more likely to establish and implement inclusive policies and practices in their classrooms in response to LGB-themed instruction.

Updated: Jul. 09, 2012
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