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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader

Series:

Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson

This volume is about the education of gender and sexualities, which is to say it explores how gender and sexuality identities and differences get constructed through the process of education and «schooling». Wittingly or not, educational institutions and educators play an important role in «normalizing» gender and sexuality differences by disciplining, regulating, and producing differences in ways that are «intelligible» within the dominant or hegemonic culture. To make gender and sexuality identities and differences intelligible through education is to understand them through the logic of separable binary oppositions (man-woman, straight-gay), and to valorize and privilege one normalized identity within each binary (man, straight) and simultaneously stigmatize and marginalize the «other» identity (woman, gay). Educational institutions have been set up to normalize the construction of gender and sexual identities in these ways, and this is both the overt and the «hidden» curriculum of schooling. At the same time, the «postmodern» times in which we live are characterized by a proliferating of differences so that the binary oppositional borders that have been maintained and policed through schooling, and that are central to maintaining highly inequitable power relations and rigid gender roles, are being challenged, resisted, and in other ways profoundly destabilized by young people today.
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29. Is the Mere Mention Enough?: Representation Across Five Different Venues of Educator Preparation

Introduction

Extract

Chapter 29

Is the Mere Mention Enough?

Representation Across Five Different Venues of Educator Preparation

Todd Jennings

Genuinely successful schools require teachers and administrators who are competent in understanding, affirming, and responding to student and family diversity. As attention to diversity in schools has expanded beyond race and ethnicity to include sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression, this has led to a growing awareness that diversities of sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expressions must be represented within college and university educator-preparation programs. While this recent attention to recognition is welcome and long overdue, to be uncritically pacified by just any form of inclusion is shortsighted and unwise. The specific topics covered and the nature of curricular representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are crucially important to consider, because different content and different representations are likely to have different outcomes in shaping the eventual beliefs, attitudes, and actions taken by future teachers and administrators. As the basis for a number of recommendations to follow, this chapter reviews research describing the formal curricula content of 197 teacher and administrator preparation programs and 20 textbooks written for preservice educators. The resulting recommendations will provide some direction for programs and education faculty who are mindful of curricular outcomes and committed to fully inclusive classrooms and schools.

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