04 SES 10 B, Gender and Education
This paper presents a research project that examines the experiences of queerly (LGBTQI) identifying teachers within Australia. This national study is the first of its kind to take place within Australia. As such, it draws upon and contributes to a growing body of research that recognises the costs to the health and wellbeing of LGBTQI teachers of heteronormative discursive practices as well as the resulting policies within our schools. Our focus upon the Australian context offers new insights into the state of play for LGBTQI teachers within a range of social, educational and geographical contexts. While much has been done in the last 10 years to better understand (and consequently to better fund) the devastating effects of homophobic bullying on individual students and school cultures, to date there is a gap in research concerning queer teachers internationally as well as locally within Australia. This research aims to redress this balance and to argue that the heteronormative discursive practices that dominate schools and act to minoritise non-heterosexual identities and render them ‘other’ impact upon adults working within schools as much as they do young people studying within them. This paper therefore brings to light the experiences of an often-invisible social group.
Additionally, much sexualities and gender research within Australia has been conducted within and limited to individual (usually state-based) local contexts. While this has built rich data sets for some states, others remain completely under-researched and consequently under-resourced. This research articulates a need for change at the national level, for better understandings of and protection for queer teachers working within our schools across sectors and localities.
Of particular concern to the authors of this paper are the legal distinctions between public, private and Catholic schools within Australia, therefore the differing experiences of queer teachers working within these contexts will be put under the lens. In addition, the paper will shed light upon the private and professional implications for queer teachers working within rural as well as urban locations and will examine the notion that rurality equates to social conservatism and a silencing of non-heterosexual identities within schools. In order to address this issue the paper will examine the possibilities for coming out as a queer teacher within varying contexts and will ask whether coming out is possible and/or desirable for our participants.
This research draws upon both quantitative survey data and qualitative interview data in order to present data that addresses location, context and the personal experiences of our participants. The research is underpinned by a poststructuralist feminist/queer framework that allows for a reading of how participants understand their identities within both the private and professional worlds that they inhabit. The paper also demonstrates the ways in which non-heterosexualities continue to be simultaneously spoken about and silenced within educational institutions. The implications this has for participants in terms of their emotional health and wellbeing is assessed as well as the ways in which participants perceive that the heteronormative discursive practices that dominate schools as educational spaces impact upon the young people they teach.
Adams St. Pierre, E. (2000). Poststructural feminism in education: An overview. Qualitative Studies in Education. Vol. 13.5: 477-515. Berlant, L. & Warner, M. (1998). Sex in Public. Critical Inquiry. Vol. 24.2: 547-566. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2010). Interventions in early school as a means to improve higher education outcomes for disadvantaged (particularly low SES) students. Commonwealth of Australia. Epstein, D. & Johnson, R. (1998). Schooling Sexualities Buckingham: Open University Press. Ferfolja, T. (2009). State of the Field Review; Stories So Far: An Overview of the Research on Lesbian Teachers. Sexualities. Vol.12.3: 378-396. Grace, A. P. & Benson, F. J. (2000), Using autobiographical queer life narratives of teachers to connect personal, political & pedagogical spaces. International Journal of Inclusive Education. Vol. 4 .2: 89-109. Gray, E. (2007), ‘Are You Married, Sir?’: Heteronormativity in British Schools & its Impact upon Queer Staff & Pupils – a Generational Perspective. In Kolářová, K. & Sokolová, V. (Eds.). Gender & Generation: Interdisciplinary Perspectives & Intersections. Prague: Litteraria Pragensia. Lehtonen, J. (2004). Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Teachers – Invisible in the mind of the students?’, in Lehtonen, J. & Mustola, K. (Eds.). Straight People Don’t Tell, Do They..?: Negotiating the boundaries of sexuality & gender at work. Valtionenvosto, Finland: Ministry of Labour. Martino, W. (2008). The lure of hegemonic masculinity: investigating the dynamics of gender relations in two male elementary schools teachers’ lives. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Vol. 21.6: 575-603. Mills, M. (2004). Male Teachers, Homophobia, Misogyny & Teacher Education. Teaching Education. Vol. 15 (1): 27-39. Youdell, D. (2004). Wounds & Reinscriptions: Schools, Sexualities & Subjects. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. Vol. 25.4: 477-493.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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