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Educator discourse ought to be at the top of the agenda

Posted By: Robert McGarry on May 5, 2008
 
Research on the school experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) students suggests that schools continually fail to meet their safety and healthy climate needs. Among other issues, this growing body of literature suggests that pejorative, homophobic speech is an epidemic in our schools and much of this research depicts teachers as negligent, ineffective, or worse, adding to the problem. While teachers are clearly an important part of this story, their experiences, their perspectives and their voices are typically absent in the discourse surrounding such issues. Where are the voices of teachers in this story?

Certainly advocating for more effective policies is a critical part of creating safer school climates for GLBT youth, but much more is needed to truly bring about a change in the way our GLBT students experience our schools. Without educator discourse about homophobia and school-based homophobic speech acts outcomes such as that which we have seen in places like Oxnard may never really cease to occur.

Teachers and other educators need to engage in authentic discourse that allows them to surface their beliefs, interrogate their own words and actions and imagine the anti-oppressive educative possibilities that exist within the teachable moments created by homophobic speech acts in their schools and classrooms. And then they need to seize them.

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 Educator discourse ought to be at the top of the agenda by Robert McGarry on May 5, 2008
     
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