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Inquiry Project

stalada's picture

*Disclaimer: I recognize that this is a difficult and broad topic, but it's incredibly interesting to me and I hope that I can narrow it down and cultivate it through more discussion and research*

Throughout high school and my many years before, my knowledge about the LGBTQIA+ community was VERY limited and I partially blame my education experiences. When I came to Bryn Mawr, I realized that I had been learning about sexuality and gender in very problematic ways. I would like to address this problem in my inquiry project. Why are our public schools teaching in often heteronormative, homophobic and sexist ways? In "home economics" in middle school, girls and boys were separated to learn different things (girls learn sewing while boys were off in the woodshop...) Further, a book featuring a non heterosexual relationship would NEVER have been read in any of my English classes. I did not even know the first thing about non-binary genders when I entered Bryn Mawr and I often feel that my schools back in Williamsport have failed me in many ways. While I cannot say this for sure or not, I feel that if we had actually talked about queerness in any of my academic settings, perhaps I would not have felt so shameful and scared about exploring my sexuality in ways that many others did not in my high school. 

I am interested in exploring how schools can move away from strictly heteronormative and binary ways of presenting material and ideas to students.This would definitely come to play especially in health classes and biology classes, but I think it should go beyond those realms as well. Why aren't we talking about LGBTQIA+ issues/matters/lives in our schools? If children learn about these things and NORMALIZE THEM at a younger age, I truly believe that we can move toward a future that harbors less hate and more love. The only time I heard about or talked about the LGBTQIA+ community or anything even slightly related was through our Gay-Straight Alliance club, and I feel that this is very problematic. 


jccohen's picture


Great topic, and yes, very broad at this point!  We'll be reading Molly Blackburn's book, which definitely references this topic, and she's someone for you to check out to get a sense of what's going on in this area.  One way to narrow a bit would be to consider the question in relation to a particular age group.  But I also think it's fine to start broad and then see what grabs you and focus in this way.  I'd suggest you check out some ed journals like Harvard Ed Review, Equity and Excellence in Education, Anthropology in Education Quarterly, and Teacher's College Record - all for big conceptual pieces, the more practitioner-based Phi Delta Kappan and Theory into Practice for more practice-based pieces.  There's a lot out there - see what's most compelling and go from there!