04 SES 08 A, Innovating Teacher Training To Promote Inclusive education: Case Analyses
In recent years, the issue of the safe school environment has become an
important component in understanding the well-being of LGBT adolescents
(Ben-Ami & Erhard, 2017; Goodenow, Watson, Adjei, Homma, & Saewyc, 2016; Kosciw, Palmer, & Kull, 2015; Pizmony-Levy & Kosciw, 2016).
While there is a substantial body of research exploring the stressful and violent school experience of LGBT adolescents (Ben-Ami & Erhard, 2017; Goodenow
et al., 2016; Kosciw, Greytak, Palmer, & Boesen, 2014; Pizmony-Levy & Kosciw, 2016) , teachers’ attitudes toward LGBT-inclusive education has been less investigated, especially in contexts other than the United States and Canada. Teachers have a pivotal role in creating a positive and protective school climate for LGBT pupils (Mustanski, Newcomb, & Garofalo, 2011; Swanson & Gettinger 2016).
The school environment in general, and the attitude of teachers in particular,Can provide support and protection for LGBT school students, and help them to establish their identity and avoid situations that could provoke depressive episodes (Greytak, Kosciw, & Boesen, 2013; Hall, 2017; Kosciw et al., 2015).
However, many educators still find it difficult to cope with the questions and dilemmas of pupils regarding their sexual orientation and homosexual identity (Greytak et al, 2013), and as a result often ignore instances of namecalling and teasing directed at LGBT pupils (Pizmony-Levy & Shilo, 2012).
A school’s pro-LGBT attitude –in other words, a school climate in which teachers are well-informed and exhibit positive attitudes and behaviors that support LGBT pupils – is extremely effective in securing the well-being of LGBT pupils. (Murdock & Bolch, 2005; Swanson & Gettinger, 2016). recent findings have revealed that teachers who received guidance on the subject were more comfortable discussing LGTB issues in their classrooms and promoting LGBT awareness in their schools (Matthew & Spano, 2017) and, in fact, became actively involved in supporting LGBT pupils (Swanson & Gettinger, 2016)
The current study examined attitudes regarding the issue of sexual orientation
in Israel, by posing relevant questions to a sample that included education
students at various stages of a training program. The focus of the
study was on participants’ willingness to address the subject, whether by
supporting individual students dealing with the issue of sexual orientation
or by conducting related class discussions and activities involving the entire
a. What are the attitudes and perceptions of education students (a1) on
the subject of openly addressing sexual orientation in various educational
frameworks and (a2) on the role of the teacher in opposing and
preventing homophobia in school?
b. To what extent do education students believe that they have the necessary
knowledge and tools to discuss issues of sexual orientation with
c. What are the attitudes of education students regarding the need to prepare
educators to broach the subject of sexual orientation with
Data for this study come from a sample of students enrolled in various departments of a teacher-education college located in the central district of Israel. The sample for this study consists of 264 participants. Of this, 97 were students in their first year of a B.Ed. program; 106 were at the practicum stage, that is, in the fourth and final year of the B.Ed. program; and 61 were enrolled in a M.Ed. program, and had prior experience in the field of education. The questionnaire for the survey was comprised of several sections, most of which were designed specifically for the purposes of the current study: 1. Witnessing homophobic behaviors 2. Attitudes about addressing the issue of sexual orientation within the education System: General importance attributed to addressing sexual orientation, the proper age to address the issue, the proper setting in which to address the issue of sexual orientation, the proper educational figure to address the issue of sexual orientation and the importance attributed to various types of school activities as methods for addressing the issue of sexual orientation with pupils. 3. Attitudes regarding the role of the teacher in opposing and preventing Homophobia. 4. Assessment of education students’ possession of knowledge about and tools for discussing sexual orientation.
The findings demonstrate that approximately one third of the education college students who took part in the study had witnessed homophobic behavior. While the main manifestation of homophobia encountered by the research participants was the derogatory use of the term homosexual ("homo"), homophobic attitudes in the school’s general atmosphere, and the targeting specific pupils who were either openly, or suspected of being, members of the LGBT community, were also prevalent. Findings reveal that participants were willing to address the issue of sexual orientation at various levels within the K–12 system, to varying extents, and in different ways. Furthermore respondents believed that not only was it the teacher’s job to discuss sexual orientation with pupils in general, but that teachers were, in fact, obligated to react against manifestations of various forms of homophobic behavior, regardless of whether the case at hand involved general homophobic behavior or an instance directed towards specific pupils. When discussing the effect of participant’s individual characteristics, it transpired that having witnessed homophobic behavior and having prior teaching experience enhanced the importance the education students attributed to addressing the issue of sexual orientation Notwithstanding this general attitude, participants reported insufficient knowledge and tools to provide the type of assistance needed by pupils negotiating the issue of sexual orientation. This gap between the willingness to act and lack of knowledge highlights the need to ensure that teachers adapt the already existing educational programs, and to develop new ways to create LGBT-inclusive education in their schools.
Ben-Ami, E., & Erhard, R. (2017). LGB Youth in the Educational System: Protective Factors and Coping Mechanisms with Homophobia. Hevra ve Revacha, 37(2), 317–342. (in Hebrew). Goodenow, C., Watson, R., Adjei, J., Homma, Y., & Saewyc, E. (2016). Sexual orientation trends and disparities in school bullying and violence-related experiences, 1999–2013. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3(4), 386–396. Greytak, E. A., Kosciw, J. G., & Boesen, M. J. (2013). Educating the educator: Creating supportive school personnel through professional development. Journal of School Violence, 12(1), 80–97. Hall, W. J. (2017). The effectiveness of policy interventions for school bullying: A systematic review. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 8(1), 45–69. Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Palmer, N. A., & Boesen, M. J. (2014). The 2013 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York, NY: GLSEN. Kosciw, J., Palmer, N., & Kull, R. (2015). Reflecting resiliency: Openness about sexual orientation and/or gender identity and its relationship to well-being and educational outcomes for LGBT Students. American Journal of Community Psychology, 55(1-2), 167–178. Matthew, L. G., & Spano, F. P. (2017). An examination of LGBTQ inclusive strategies used by practicing music educators. Research Studies in Music Education, 39(1), 39–56. Murdock, T. B., & Bolch, M. B. (2005). Risk and protective factors for poor school adjustment in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) high school youth: Variable and person-centered analyses. Psychology in the Schools, 42(2), 159–172. Mustanski, B., Newcomb, M. E., & Garofalo, R. (2011). Mental health of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: a developmental resiliency perspective. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 23(2), 204–225. Pizmony-Levy, O., & Kosciw, J. G. (2016). School climate and the experience of LGBT students: A comparison of the United States and Israel. Journal of LGBT Youth, 13(1-2), 46–66. Pizmony-Levy, A., & Shilo, G. (2012). A study on school climate 2012: A research report. Tel Aviv: Organization of Israeli Gay Youth (in Hebrew). Swanson, K., & Gettinger, M. (2016). Teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, and supportive behaviors toward lgbt students: relationship to gay-straight alliances, antibullying policy, and teacher training. Journal of LGBT Youth, 13(4), 326–351.
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