Troubling Gender, Sexual Diversity and Heteronormativity in Language Teacher Education
Hume, Samantha Jane
Date: 14 October 2013
University of Exeter
EdD in TESOL
There have been profound changes within German culture and society in recent decades including the social reality and legal equality of same-sex couples and parents and an increased visibility of non-heterosexual individuals. Through my many years of formal education and as a teacher of English as a Second or Other language (TESOL) in ...
There have been profound changes within German culture and society in recent decades including the social reality and legal equality of same-sex couples and parents and an increased visibility of non-heterosexual individuals. Through my many years of formal education and as a teacher of English as a Second or Other language (TESOL) in Germany, I have not seen this reality represented in TESOL education in target language samples, textbooks, images or critical discussions. The aim of this thesis was to explore whether teachers and students on a TESOL language teacher education (LTE) programme at a Bavarian university are aware of issues of gender, sexual diversity and heteronormativity on their programme and in their classrooms. This fits well with the many other studies carried out internationally in this field over the past few years but looks specifically at a politically and culturally homogeneous part of Germany. By adopting a feminist poststructuralist and queer-theoretical approach to create, deliver and reflect on a course geared specifically towards troubling the silence and exclusion of sexual diversity in (language) teacher education, it investigates if and how social change has manifested itself in a Bavarian LTE programme. Through the use of multiple data collection methods, a background questionnaire to situate the students in this Bavarian context, interviews with non-heterosexual staff and students, a troubling course-construction, delivery and recording, a researcher reflective journal, and participant exit interviews and reflective written assessments, this case study examines staff and students' experiences of and attitudes towards heteronormativity in LTE and que(e)ries the potential for change. The findings reveal that there is initially little conscious awareness of the pervasiveness of heteronormative discourses in LTE TESOL classrooms or in language use, but that through que(e)rying materials, critical dialogue, reflection in interviews and classes, practice and active explicit analysis of taken-for-granted exclusions and silences, a heightened and critical awareness can be achieved.
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