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Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect

On the Lives and Education of Children

Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio

Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect presents a wide variety of concepts from scholars and practitioners who discuss pedagogies of kindness, an alternative to the «no excuses» ideology now dominating the way that children are raised and educated in the U.S. today. The fields of education, and especially early childhood education, include some histories and perspectives that treat those who are younger with kindness and respect. This book demonstrates an informed awareness of this history and the ways that old and new ideas can counter current conditions that are harmful to both those who are younger and those who are older, while avoiding the reconstitution of the romantic, innocent child who needs to be saved by more advanced adults. Two interpretations of the upbringing of children are investigated and challenged, one suggesting that the poor do not know how to raise their children and thus need help, while the other looks at those who are privileged and therefore know how to nurture their young. These opposing views have been discussed and problematized for more than thirty years. Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect investigates the issue of why this circumstance has continued and even worsened today.
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Chapter Seventeen: Acknowledging and Validating LGBT Identities: Toward a Pedagogy of Compassion

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Acknowledging AND Validating LGBT Identities

Toward a Pedagogy of Compassion

A. SCOTT HENDERSON



Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, including children and youth, have been targets of violence, hated, and disrespect. Historically, state actors and institutions in the United States have either ignored or tacitly condoned such behavior. However, beginning in the late 1980s, school officials and educators began to address the need to provide a safe environment for students who self-identify as LGBT (Grayson, 1987; Kim, 2009; Uribe & Harbeck, 1992). Subsequently, several states have passed broad anti-bullying laws that cover LGBT students, and an increasing number of schools, particularly high schools, now sponsor gay-straight alliances (Lund & Carr, 2008; Miller & Gilligan, 2013). Teachers are also increasingly aware of the need to incorporate curricular materials that validate the contributions of LGBT individuals who have either been ignored or “de-gayed” (Garden, 2007; Jennings, 1994; Rofes, 1989).

This chapter focuses on three related areas:

1. Pedagogical strategies that offer students the opportunity to explore content-based materials that affirm and/or validate LGBT identities. Within this section, emphasis will be placed on the rise of gay teen fiction as a genre that English/language-arts teachers can incorporate into their curricula.

2. Attempts to mandate the instruction of LGBT perspectives to all students. Discussion will center on the 2011 passage of California’s FAIR Education Act, which compels inclusion of political, economic, and...

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