Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Education

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Michael Kehler

Abstract

Drawing from queer theoretical perspectives, this thesis examines the extent to which teachers address sexual orientation and gender identities in Ontario Elementary classrooms, reflecting recent curricular revisions regarding antidiscrimination education and social justice; moreover, it investigates some of the influences that affect teachers’ pedagogical practices. This inquiry’s significance can be seen through social constructionism which emphasizes the teachers’ role in reinforcing or disrupting discourses of normalcy. Queer Theory offers a method for deconstructing and challenging identity categories such as the heterosexual/homosexual dichotomy or gender normative frameworks.

Findings indicate an apparent tension for teachers in negotiating personal and parental beliefs and pedagogies that reflect gender and sexual identities. Professional development is recommended to assist teachers with this complexity and alleviate bullying and harassment experienced by students who exhibit non-normative expressions of gender, question their sexuality, or come from families headed by same-sex parents.


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