1-10 of 97 Results  for:

  • Education, Gender, and Sexualities x
Clear all

Article

Sonya Douglass Horsford, Dessynie D. Edwards, and Judy A. Alston

Research on Black women superintendents has focused largely on their racial and gendered identities and the challenges associated with negotiating the politics of race and gender while leading complex school systems. Regarding the underrepresentation of Black female superintendents, an examination of Black women’s experiences of preparing for, pursuing, attaining, and serving in the superintendency may provide insights regarding their unique ways of knowing and, leading that, inform their leadership praxis. Informed by research on K-12 school superintendency, race and gender in education leadership, and the lived experiences and knowledge claims of Black women superintendents, important implications for future research on the superintendency will be hold. There exists a small but growing body of scholarly research on Black women education leaders, even less on the Black woman school superintendent, who remains largely underrepresented in education leadership research and the field. Although key studies have played an important role in establishing historical records documenting the service and contributions of Black women educational leaders in the United States, the bulk of the research on Black women superintendents can be found in dissertation studies grounded largely in the works of Black women education leadership scholars and practitioners. As a growing number of aspiring and practicing leaders who identify as Black women enter graduate-level leadership preparation programs and join the ranks of educational administration, questions concerning race and gender in leadership are almost always present as the theories presented in leadership preparation programs often conflict with or represent set of perspectives, realities, and strategies that may not align with those experienced by leaders who identify as Black women. For these reasons, their leadership perspectives, epistemologies, and contributions are essential to our understanding of the superintendency and field of educational leadership.

Article

Barbara Crossouard and Máiréad Dunne

Education has been a central institution in the installation and legitimation of gender binaries and racialized difference in colonial and postcolonial eras. While the term “postcolonial” can refer to the period after which colonized nations gained their independence, a postcolonial critique also engages with the afterlife of the metaphysics of Western modernity. Notably, the imperial project of Western modernity assumed the superiority of the colonizers and provided the legitimation for the deep injustices of colonization to be framed as a “civilizing mission.” In particular, the processes of colonization imposed a “modern/colonial gender system,” which reconstructed the gender norms of many societies around the world, and which subordinated women by binding them to the domestic sphere. Its “biologic” presumed a heterosexual matrix in ways that were also profoundly racialized. Importantly, education was a critical institution that not only legitimated Western knowledges and values, but also secured women’s regulation and subordination. In postcolonial eras, education was given central importance in ways that have tied it to modern imperatives. For the newly independent postcolonial nation, education was critical in the construction of a national imaginary but this framing has reproduced rather than disrupting colonial gender norms. Harnessing education in support of national development inserted the postcolonial nation in a hierarchy of “developed” and “developing” nations. The focus on development similarly permeated efforts at curricular reform, such that they often reproduced the gendered, racialized, and classed hierarchies of colonial education. What counted as legitimate knowledge remained framed by Western elite institutions and their technologies of power. Importantly, from the moment of their independence, the global reach of multilateral organizations has constantly framed the postcolonial trajectories of “developing” nations and their educational reforms. Although often contradictory, the discourses of such organizations intensified the imperatives of education for national development. This compounded pressures to increase educational access beyond elite groups and to include more females. However, the technologies of power that support these international policy agendas bind such reforms to modern imperatives, so that they have become a critical site for the reinscription of binary understandings of gender. This is also true for contemporary international concerns for “quality” education. This is prosecuted largely through promotion of learner-centered education, a concept that is also infused with Western democratic ideals and values. Interrogation of the “hidden curriculum” further shows that the education in postcolonial contexts remains a key institution through which gender is instantiated in essentialized and binary ways, infused by modern ideals of presumptive heteronormativity. Resisting such binaries requires an understanding of gender as something that we “do,” or that we “perform,” within the contingencies and exigencies of particular social and cultural contexts. In turn, these theoretical understandings call for in-depth qualitative studies that can attend to the particularities of the gender regimes in different educational contexts and other intersecting structures of difference (race, ethnicity, religion, class, sexuality) that are rendered invisible by education’s legitimation of difference as a question of disembodied individual merit and ability.

Article

Young people’s experiences with spaces commonly called “the streets” are greatly influenced by gender and sexuality. Because queer and trans youth are policed in specific ways because of their identities and presentations and because queer and trans youth are more likely to experience homelessness than their peers, it is vitally important to understand the ways these young people are making meaning, knowledge, and culture from their experiences on “the streets” within the contexts of the United States and Canada.

Article

Formal education supports various goals related to the transmission of a society’s values, from teaching basic literacy to instilling moral virtues. Although schools serve as places of assimilation and socialization into dominant norms, schools are also spaces where young people experiment with their own ideals and self-expressions. Researchers interested in how young people learn to inhabit gendered roles or “positions” highlight the significant role that schooling plays in gender subjectification. Put simply, gender subjectification is the process by which one becomes recognizable to oneself (and to others) as a gendered subject. Schools are key institutions where individuals learn to negotiate their places in society and to consider possible futures. Through interacting with one another and with the overt and hidden curricula in school, as well as with various social structures outside school, individuals are shaped by various discourses that involve desires, beliefs, rituals, policies, and practices. Education research focusing on gender subjectification has explored the mechanisms by which schools shape and reproduce, for example, the gendered knowledge that young people come to internalize and take up as “normal” or acceptable for themselves and for others, as well as what they resist or reject. As with all social institutions, a school is subject to and influenced by various communications that circulate and intersect inside and outside the school walls. These discourses include but are not limited to “official” communications such as laws, policies, and state- or district-sanctioned curriculum materials, various conversations circulating among media and fora, and conversations from peer groups, the home, and community groups. From these diverse and often contradictory sets of discourses, schools privilege and disseminate their own “discursive selections” concerning gender. These selections work on and through students to shape possibilities as well as place constraints on not only how students understand themselves as gendered subjects but also how they come to those understandings. Studies investigating education and gender suggest that inequities and inequalities often begin in early schooling and have long-lasting implications both inside and outside schools. School and classroom discourses tend to privilege hegemonic (meaning dominant and normative) notions of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality while silencing, punishing, and, in some cases, even criminalizing differences. Research concerned with gender subjectification and school has addressed numerous significant questions such as: What are the gendered landscapes of schooling, and how do individuals experience those landscapes? What are the everyday discourses and practices of schooling (both formal and informal) that work on how gender gets “done,” and how do these aspects interact and function? How does school impose constraints on, as well as offer possibilities for, gender subjectivity, when institutional contexts that shape subjectivities are also in motion? Ultimately, these questions concern the role that schooling has in shaping how individuals think about and “do” selfhood. In general, critical studies of gender and subjectification gesture toward hope and possibilities for more equality, more consensuality, and more inclusivity of individual differences.

Article

South Africa’s constitution, wider legal context, and educational policies should enable its teachers to help create environments in which the safety and welfare of all their learners are protected and in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or intersex (LGBTQI) learners, and other vulnerable leaners, can develop integrated identities. Life Orientation (LO) is the main learning area in which comprehensive sexuality education and human rights are addressed. But despite the supportive policy framework, research shows that the school curriculum only makes oblique references to gender and sexual diversity, and that for the most part schools are not ensuring that educators or schoolgoing youth learn how to respect the diversity of human sexuality and genders. Instead, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, homophobia, and transphobia remain prevalent in South African schools and textbooks, with very little intervention from teachers to challenge discrimination. How it is possible to make sense of the disparity between what the country’s laws and policies stipulate and what is actually happening in schools? Why is it that policies are not resulting in improved experiences for the vast majority of learners who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), are same-sex attracted or nonbinary, or assumed to be LGBT? Why have South African school governing bodies, principals, and teachers not been able to respond to the fundamental changes in the country’s democracy in ways which disrupt, or even challenge, hetero- and cisnormativity, making schools safer for all learners? There are a number of known challenges to the implementation of LGBT-inclusive practices and curricula in South Africa. More research is required to understand how best to ensure that teachers are willing and able to integrate topics around gender and sexual diversity into their curriculum without perpetuating heteronormativity, cisnormativity, homophobia, and other forms of oppression.

Article

Ndumiso Daluxolo Ngidi, Nkonzo Mkhize, and Brian Bongani Sibeko

School geographies have received little attention from scholarship on queerphobic bullying in South Africa. This is worrying because overwhelming evidence shows how schools are unsafe spaces for queer students. Indeed, schools are key to understanding the geographies of young people. They also play a central role in shaping their social identities. Within the South African context, school toilets are among the most dangerous areas for students in schools. In these spaces, students experience bullying, gendered violence, and crime. Yet the subjective experiences of queer students when accessing school toilets are not well understood. To shed some light on how the school toilet is a space that allows the re-enactment of violent hegemonic masculinities by heteronormative male students, this article reflects on queer experiences of schooling by paying particular attention to the space of the school toilet. Through our experiences, we show how the toilet space is a site for queerphobic bullying. We argue that school toilets are areas for the (re)construction of hegemonic, dominating, and violent heterosexual masculinity, and the further legitimization of hetero-patriarchal systems. While there is evidence of agency in our experiences, it is at the cost of violence. We conclude that schools should abandon the notion of gender binary not just in their toilet spaces but in all spheres of school life, from the curriculum to school culture and infrastructure. Drawing on these experiences, the article submit that this will, in part, reframe South African schools as possible sites for constructing a gender-equal society.

Article

The increase of transgender visibility and politics correlates with a renowned interest in gender equity in schools. The diversity of trans* and gender-expansive social identities, along with divergent conceptualizations of the meaning transing/trans*ing, ontology, identity, and embodiment, produces a wide range of ideal and pragmatic approaches to gender equity and justice in education. Fields and analytical frameworks that emerge from Decolonial Feminism, Queer Indigenous Studies, Queer of Color Critique in education, Jotería studies, and transgender studies in the United States have unique definitions, political commitments, and epistemological articulations to the meaning and purpose of transing/trans*ing. These divergent articulations of trans*ing often make projects of transgender equity and justice incommensurable to each other, or they converge at the various scalar aspects of equity design and implementation. By historicizing, or re-membering the rich body of decolonial modes of trans*ing bodies, knowledge, and selves, trans* of color critique in education research makes trans* justice possible by disrupting white-centric approaches to transgender inclusion that may fall short in the conceptualization of trans* justice and what makes a trans* livable life for queer and trans people of color.

Article

Despite the ubiquity of categories of race, sexuality, and gender in K–12 schools in the United States, there is limited research documenting how these categories influence the experiences of students, reflecting constraints on knowledge production, particularly with respect to queer of Color theories in education. Within the research that exists, scholars have used varying paradigms of difference, some of which erase and others of which recognize and theorize the relationships between race and queerness. Many studies have described intersecting structures of domination in U.S. schools and the lack of attention to intersectionality in school-based supports for queer youth. Fewer studies document examples of student resistance and activism, suggesting needs for future theorizing, research, and practice. Although the bodies of students, educators, staff, and family members in K–12 schools have been and continue to be understood through categories of race, sexuality, and gender, there is limited empirical research discussing the ways that race and queerness are co-constitutive of people’s experiences in the U.S. schooling system. In part, scholarly knowledge production has been constrained because of schools’ hostility to queer research and critical projects more generally, with queer research, and especially queer of Color research, often producing oppositional knowledge in tension with schools as state-sanctioned institutions. When research has been conducted about race and queerness in U.S. schools, scholars have used three main paradigms to conceptualize, or problematically erase, the relationship between race and queerness: discrete, additive, and intersectional perspectives. Discreteness suggests that race and queerness are separate, disconnected identities. The other two perspectives recognize interrelationships. An additive perspective suggests that identities are a sum of parts, whereas an intersectional perspective suggests identities as co-constitutive and resulting in unique, qualitatively different experiences. Research attending to the relationships of race and queerness has revealed that U.S. schools are unwelcoming if not outright hostile to queer youth, resulting in negative consequences such as lowered academic achievement and poorer psychological well-being. The particular experiences of and reactions to such marginalization vary with respect to intersections of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and social class. Although school-based supports such as supportive educators, inclusive curriculum and policies, and extracurricular clubs are beneficial, too frequently these supports lack attention to intersections of race and queerness, limiting their beneficial impact. These tensions show the need for intersectional coalition building approaches to a key element of anti-racist queer educational activism. Importantly, queer youth enact resistance and activism in schools in ways that are individualized and collective. Some resistance has been school-sanctioned (such as writing) and other instances beyond what schools sanction (such as violence). Collective forms were most common as queer youth of Color often drew on embodied and community knowledges to advocate for themselves and peers. In the absence of broader support, queer youth often used privilege, such as whiteness, as protection and thus reified oppressive values and practices. Future educational research needs to focus further on the intersections of race and queerness to help inform educational theories and practices to help queer youth, both white and of Color, learn and flourish in U.S. schools.

Article

Black male teachers represent 2% of the teaching profession. When grade level and area of specialization are added, for example early childhood education, even fewer Black males are visibly present in classrooms. Because of the underrepresentation of Black male teachers, clarion calls have been made in extant research, media, and popular press for racial and gender equity at and above the early childhood level. Black male teacher recruitment and retention initiatives including Call Me Mister have played an instrumental role in attempting to diversify early childhood classrooms by bolstering the percentage of Black male teachers who teach young children, and by illuminating the importance and benefits of the pedagogies and schooling practices of Black male teachers in supporting Black boys in classrooms. Black boys are often misperceived as disinterested in school, and Black male teachers are summoned to classrooms to serve as role models, father figures, and pedagogues who can meet the academic and social needs of Black boys at all grade levels. However, persistent challenges to the recruitment and retention of Black male teachers to classrooms remain daunting tasks in the teaching profession. More than 85% of teachers are White, middle-class, and female, and this overwhelmingly White female majority has concretized the idea that early childhood teaching is essentially women’s work. In doing so, White female teachers are socially constructed as the hallmark of early childhood education, possessing the White hegemonic feminine characteristics and dispositions essential to teaching young children. To that end, anti-Black misandric normative discourses such as early childhood teaching as women’s work have created barriers for and has stymied the recruitment and retention of men, regardless of race and ethnicity, but especially Black men who desire to teach young children.

Article

Gender and transformative education are a unique combination that needs careful consideration. One is drawn to focusing on gender and education in an attempt to bring about gender perspective transformation. Gender-related transformation of education can be accomplished in a variety of scales and approaches. This approach could change how education is organized in ways that recognize gender differences or inequality, do not exacerbate gender inequity, and enhance gender awareness, and aim to promote gender equity and equality in education. This intervention could take the form of gender mainstreaming and other affirmative actions which can be achieved through gender policies, gender-responsive pedagogy, and curriculum development. There is no doubt that, regardless of all the efforts that have been put in place to overcome gender inequality in education, gender inequality still exists and continue to persist at all levels of education and hence the need for transformative education which is education for change. Educators should follow transformative education to enable them to identify practices and ways of teaching and learning that are not gender sensitive and can take corrective measures in the direction that can overcome gender disparity in education by avoiding action that promotes gender disadvantages.