04 SES 10 B, Gender and Inclusion
Parallel Paper Session
Social inequality in education is a frequently investigated subject in educational sociology. Educational inequalities that received much attention in the last decennia are the achievement gaps caused by socioeconomic inequality (Coleman et al., 1966), racial or ethnic inequality (Johnson, Crosnoe & Elder, 2001) or gender (Epstein, Elwood, Hey & Maw, 1998). Only recently attention is paid to the educational experiences and careers of LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) students.
Educational inequality is often explained in terms of adjustment difficulties, caused by differences between personal characteristics and the expectations that are present in schools. When students’ characteristics do not align with the formal or informal structure of the school, their ability to negotiate this structure is compromised. In an effort to maintain their identity and avoid a loss of self worth, students who are stigmatized may disengage from their teachers, school, and the learning process itself. In the case of sexual minority students, these adjustment problems are displayed by the difficulty of non-heterosexual students to fit in a heteronormative environment.
Previous research showed that LGB students often experience severe problems in school because of their sexual orientation. Many are confronted with bullying and discrimination, and they often do not feel accepted in a heteronormative school environment (Ellis & High, 2004; Buston & Hart, 2001). These experiences can have an impact on their well-being and mental health, but also on their school careers and future success in life (Mishna, Newman, Daley, & Solomon, 2008; Poteat & Espelage, 2007).
Most previous research on the school careers of sexual minorities, however, is carried out in countries with little opportunities for LGBs, and high rates of homonegativity among the general population. We want to investigate if the impact of sexual orientation on school careers and experiences is different for LGB students in regions that are known to be rather LGB friendly, like Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2009; Borghs & Eeckhout, 2009).
On ECER 2012 we will present a summary of our findings on the four main research topics of our study: sense of school belonging, school motivation, school performance, and homonegativity in the technical and vocational track.
Borghs, P. & Eeckhout, B. (2009). LGB Rights in Belgium, 1999-2007: A Historical Survey of a Velvet Revolution. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 24, 1-28. Buston, K. & Hart, G. (2001). Heterosexism and Homophobia in Scottish School Sex Education: Exploring the Nature of the Problem. Journal of Adolescence, 24, 95-109. Coleman, J., Campbell, E., Hobson, C., McPartland, J., Mood, A., Weinfeld, F. et al. (1966). Equality of Educational Opportunity. Washington: U.S. Department of Health. Cox, N., Dewaele, A., & Vincke, J. (2010). Sexual Stigma in Flemish Youth. "I Do Respect Them, but I'd Rather Have Them Normal and Discrete Like Everybody Else". Exploring Heteronormativity and (Internalized) Homonegativity in the Flemish Context. Unpublished Ellis, V. & High, S. (2004). Something More to Tell You: Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Young People's Experiences of Secondary Schooling. British Educational Research Journal, 30, 213-225. Epstein, D., Elwood, J., Hey, V., & Maw, J. (1998). Failing Boys? Issues in Gender and Achievement. Buckingham/Philadephia: Open University Press. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2009). Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States: Part II - The Social Situation Vienna, Austria. Johnson, M. K., Crosnoe, R., & Elder, G. H. (2001). Students' Attachment and Academic Engagement: The Role of Race and Ethnicity. Sociology of Education, 74, 318-340. Mishna, F., Newman, P. A., Daley, A., & Solomon, S. (2008). Bullying of Lesbian and Gay Youth: A Qualitative Investigation. British Journal of Social Work, 39, 1598-1614. Pelleriaux, K. (2003). Stereotypering van Holebi's in het Secundair Onderwijs [Stereotyping of LGBs in Secondary Education] (Rep. No. 2003/8). Antwerpen: Faculteit Politieke en Sociale Wetenschappen, Universiteit Antwerpen. Poteat, V. P. & Espelage, D. L. (2007). Predicting Psychosocial Consequences of Homophobic Victimization in Middle School Students. Journal of Early Adolescence, 27, 175-191.
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