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“Distressing” Situations and Differentiated Interventions: Preservice Teachers’ Imagined Futures With Trans and Gender-Creative Students

by Elizabeth E. Blair & Sherry L. Deckman - 2020

Background/Context: Teachers can help ensure trans and gender-creative students’ opportunity for, and equal access to, education, yet the field of educational research has just begun to explore how teachers understand trans and gender-creative students’ experiences and negotiate their responsibilities to protect these students’ rights.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article aims to address this essential gap by exploring preservice teachers (PSTs’) understandings of, and preparation for, creating supportive educational contexts for trans and gender-creative students, guided by the following research question: How do PSTs construct their responsibilities as future teachers to support trans and gender-creative students? Ultimately, this study aims to inform the development of effective teacher education curricula and related policy on trans and gender-creative identities.

Participants: Participants were 183 undergraduate preservice teachers enrolled in 10 sections of an educational equity course.

Research Design: We conducted a qualitative, inductive, thematic online discourse analysis. Using a queer, social justice teacher education framework, we qualitatively analyzed 549 online PST-authored posts.

Findings/Results: Three themes emerged: (1) PSTs voiced discomfort negotiating conflicting values and roles in supporting trans and gender-creative students, and PSTs suggested (2) individualized, differentiated interventions, and (3) community education approaches to promote comfort for trans and gender-creative students—strategies that may reinscribe normative, institutionalized views of gender identity.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Findings suggest the pressing need for innovative teacher education on gender identity and fluidity: PSTs need more opportunities to learn about supporting trans and gender-creative students, to critically consider constructs of gender and sexuality, and to explore how systemic gender oppression intersects with other forms of oppression through schooling practices.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 7, 2020, p. 1-38
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23319, Date Accessed: 2/27/2021 3:58:53 PM

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About the Author
  • Elizabeth Blair
    University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
    E-mail Author
    ELIZABETH E. BLAIR, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where she teaches courses on child development, educational equity, and educational theory and practice to preservice teachers. Dr. Blair’s research agenda focuses on exploring teaching and learning relationships, identity, and educational equity in elementary through postsecondary contexts, with a special focus on gender identity and equity. Her selected publications include “Undergraduate STEM Instructors' Teacher Identities and Discourses on Student Gender Expression and Equity” (Journal of Engineering Education, 2017) and “Partners for Success? Undergraduate Women’s Post-Feminist Constructions of Intimate Relationships” (Gender and Education, 2017).
  • Sherry Deckman
    Lehman College, City University of New York
    E-mail Author
    SHERRY L. DECKMAN, Ed.D., is an assistant professor of education at Lehman College, the City University of New York. Her current research explores how educators are formally prepared to work with students from diverse race and gender backgrounds and how educators address issues of race, class, and gender inequity in schools. Dr. Deckman’s selected publications include “Managing Race and Race-ing Management: Teachers’ Stories of Race and Classroom Conflict” (Teachers College Record, 2018) and “Dangerous Black Professor: Challenging the Ghettoization of Race in Higher Education Through Life Texts Pedagogy” (coauthor, RIP Jim Crow: Fighting Racism Through Higher Education Policy, Curriculum, and Cultural Interventions, Peter Lang, 2016).
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