Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Education

Supervisor

DR. RACHEL HEYDON

Abstract

This study is a critical discourse analysis of kindergarten programmatic curricula across Canada. The prime goal of the study was to produce knowledge of programmatic curricula’s treatment of diverse gender and sexual identities. The research questions investigated what gender and sexual identities are included in the curricula, how these identities are configured, the meaning making opportunities children are thereby offered, and the implications for students’ gender and sexual identity options and their understandings of gender and sexual minority youth and same-sex parented families.

The data collection tool drew upon Fairclough’s (1995) textual analysis (including linguistic and intertextual components), Dillon’s (2009) questions of curriculum (modified to explore the nature, elements, and practice of gender and sexual identities), and the six dimensions of language arts (reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing).

Findings indicate that most of the examined curricula lacked explicit language to specify what gender and sexual identities should be included in classroom curricula. Null and hidden curricula were identified that reinforce traditional gender identities and could limit identity options for children. Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) figured prominently in the curricula and placed constraints on classroom curricula relative to diverse gender and sexual identities. Recommendations include changes to programmatic curricula to be more specific regarding identities to include in teaching, how to resolve conflict over differences, and that programmatic curricula move beyond narrow perspectives of DAP. Educator professional learning is required to support all recommendations.


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