Anti-homophobia education in teacher education: Perspectives from teacher educators in NSW, Australia

Year: 2003

Author: Robinson, Kerry, Ferfolja, Tania

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper, based on surveys and in-depth interviews with teacher educators across universities in NSW, explores the in/exclusion of anti-homophobia education / lesbian and gay issues, in pre-service teacher education. A number of major areas were examined, including: the history of inclusion/exclusion within the teacher education program; the perceived relevance to teacher education across early childhood, primary and secondary educational sectors; the theoretical and pedagogical frameworks utilised; systemic and/or student attitudes to the inclusion of anti-homophobia education; experiences of resistance; the professional and personal impact of addressing anti-homophobia education on teacher educators, and ; teacher educators' confidence and comfort with addressing these issues. The research highlighted that the in/exclusion of anti-homophobia education / lesbian and gay issues, was primarily dependent on the lecturer's personal interests or awareness of the relevance of this area in relation to schooling; was generally, (with some important exceptions), marginalised at the expense of other social justice issues; and that it was often resisted by pre-service teachers. Issues pertaining to geographical location was also highly relevant. Moreover, it was found that a string, theoretical perspective, beyond liberal tolerant approaches, was most effective in counteracting student resistances as well as increasing their understandings of the issues.