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ED 6390 - Dissemination Plan (LGBTQ issues)
Transcript of ED 6390 - Dissemination Plan (LGBTQ issues)
The tip of the iceberg..
It is estimated that 7-8% of the population are LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning).
The issues facing LGBTQ youth are much 'deeper' than people think.
Nearly two-thirds of LGBQT students feel unsafe at school due to homophobic attacks and unsupportive administration.
..Rarely! Some teachers do not intervene in LGBTQ harassment situations..
Educators are less likely to mediate situations when students utter the phrase 'That's so gay' because, like students, adults see this type of jargon as harmless banter which is not viewed as seriously as 'faggot' or 'dyke''. This phrase is used so frequently that it is considered common slang. However, this language bothers 91.4% of LGBTQ students.
Teachers are there to help...right?
In fact, 10% of LGBTQ students have heard homophobic slurs and comments from their teachers daily or weekly!
The Relationship between Teacher Attitudes and the Quality of Education that Students of Different Sexual Orientations Receive.
"For too long, society and schools have neglected the needs of LGBTQ children and youth" (Cowan & Klotz, 2012, p.10).
These adolescents are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers!
Adolescents with same-sex attractions are more likely to have lower grades and feel less enthralled about school. They also have less ambition to continue education after high school because of stressful environments.
LGBTQ youth are also more prone to substance abuse with alcohol and drugs.
A research study found that 80% of educators have negative attitudes towards homosexuality.
Some teachers are uncomfortable dealing with homophobic issues and harassment because of their lack of understanding on the topic. Also, if they help LGBTQ students they fear others will view them as homosexual as well.
Other teachers fear they may lose their job or spark an intense reaction from parents or board personnel if they intervene or provide teachable moments to their class about LGBTQ equity.
School staff are known to intervene 59.2% and 39.3% of the time for racist and sexist remarks respectively, but only 16.5% of the time for homophobic remarks.
Occasionally, teachers are in the direct line of vision of the abuse and continue to avoid and resolve the conflict.
Why bother reporting an incident...
In one study, 60.4% of LGBTQ students who were assaulted did not bother to report the situation to the administration or a teacher. Most students think that little to no action will be taken or the situation will get much worst.
One case study described an openly gay student who passed around letters which outlined the passive and silent practices done by the administration on LGBTQ issues. The administration later confiscated and destroyed all of the letters.
This silence can be deadly as it has been found that bullying towards LGBTQ youths has been positively correlated with an increase in their depression and suicide tendencies.
What are other negative behaviours towards LGBTQ students?
Unintentional abuse by teachers: Bad habits and improper dialogue can create uncomfortable scenarios. Example: Two boys are teasing each other in a classroom and the teacher stops the behaviour by embarrassing them by claiming they must have a crush on each other. LGBTQ students in the classroom would most likely feel ashamed about their sexuality as it is being used as a mocking punishment for the two boys.
Direct abuse by teachers: Besides the statistics mentioned on negative views and biases, some teachers belittle LGBTQ students or refuse to help. When a student looking for support approaches a favourite teacher and the teacher rejects them unexpectedly, the student can descend into many different types of problems.
When LGBTQ students fail to locate a supportive adult in their school to address their issues they were more likely to have been assaulted at school and to have attempted suicide in the previous year.
What else can happen?
Unsupported LGBTQ can have lower grade point averages (2.7) compared to LGBTQ students in supportive schools (3.1).
A couple of supportive teachers are not enough!
The literature points out that one or two supportive teachers doing positive work with LGBTQ students shown no difference than if the entire school was unsupportive.
"Children and youth who do not feel safe cannot learn and thrive" (Cowan et al., 2012, p.11).
Damage from negative teachers!
The same study mentioned that negative teacher attitudes were positively correlated to the frequency of victimization of all harassment issues. In other words, negative teachers contribute to an unhealthy and volatile school climate.
A major study illustrated that negative teacher attitudes negatively correlated with school commitments such as LGBTQ equity and safety.
"My parents did not want me to grow up gay. My teachers did not want me to grow up gay. In doing what they felt was in my best interest, denying me the right to grow up positively gay, they each, in their own way, contributed to my feelings of isolation and of being wrong and bad...[Teachers] should have stopped homophobic remarks and used them as a springboard to discuss fairness, equality, and the contributions made by gay people so that I could be proud of myself. I should have grown up with their support and love because it was their ethical responsibility to me, a 5-year old gay boy in their care (Burt et al., 2010, p. 98)."
"Teachers and staff don’t see me being bullied for being a lesbian as a big deal. They see words such as ‘dyke’ and ‘queer’ as common teenager slang and even use the terms themselves on occasion. Most teachers refer to students as ‘acting gay’ when students do something stupid... so telling a teacher makes no sense because they don’t care (Kosciw & Diaz, 2006, p.35)."
Educators are seen as role models and students are keen observers to notice how these professionals conduct themselves on a daily basis.
But there is hope! Good things are
Groups such as PSGs
(positive space groups) and the
GSA (gay-straight alliance) are
providing LGBTQ students with a safe
and respectful school environment.
There are signs of calmer waters ahead.
PSGs and the GSA
Schools with PSGs report hearing fewer homophobic remarks and students are more likely to report occurrences!
Positive schools unite!
Students admit that school personnel from schools
with a comprehensive harassment policy, including LGBTQ sections, were more likely to intervene and stop anti-gay slurs and abuse.
Students having six or more supportive staff members were much less likely to feel unsafe.
Positive work being done
Schools with GSAs are less than half as likely to have
dating violence and threatening events occur at school. They are also less than one third as likely to report multiple suicide attempts.
When troubled students were able to find a caring teacher they were more likely to finish school and continue their education after high school.
"A positive staff can make a tremendous
difference in the experience of LGBTQ
Importance of GSAs
Schools with GSAs allow students
to receive useful information through items such as pamphlets, posters, and peer groups. Also, when LGBTQ issues were included in the curriculum it added a sense of
safety and appreciation.
Good new stories
"I feel I was lucky enough to have a staff that [was] understanding and respectful of LGBTQ teens, because even though some of the students aren't...I knew I would always have a few teachers to talk and share with. LGBTQ teens need that. They need to know that they're safe."
"In terms of individual attitudes - every
child is 'your' responsibility - opinions don't come into safety. You do not have to embrace every belief but there is no negotiation on safety and students' rights for safe respectful environment."
- Department of Education NL
Smarten up teachers!
"Teacher facilitators should be prepared to listen
more than they talk - their role should be primarily a supportive one."
Educators must be firm and consistent in their own classroom management and set clear ground rules.
Something is fishy...
Why are teachers avoiding this issue?
Because many teachers are not trained to handle these
Pre-service and in-service training
"Educators are often at a loss in handling LGBTQ issues in the classroom."
With approximately 8,000 teachers in Newfoundland and Labrador caring for 68,729 students, it is clear that teacher training must occur in this province as well!
"Research on [LGBT] teacher education pedagogy is essential for preparing teachers to disrupt homophobia in schools."
Necessary action through all grade levels
Boys seem to discover their latent homosexual tendencies in elementary and middle school, while girls notice their different sexuality in high school, it is imperative that all teachers receive specific training either in post-secondary or at in-service meetings.
"Teachers have tremendous power. We can choose to use that power to assist students to broaden their thinking...to be active participants in their own education."
So will teachers stop harassing behaviour?