Challenges facing Educators with regard to Gender and Sexuality Diverse Students
Inclusivity is at the heart of education in New Zealand and is founded on the key principle that every student deserves to feel like they belong in the school environment. One important aspect of inclusion is how Gender and Sexuality Diverse (GSD) students are being supported in educational settings. This critical literature review identified three key challenges facing educators that prevent GSD students from being fully included at school. Teachers require professional development in order to discuss GSD topics, bullying and harassment of GSD individuals are dealt with on an as-needs basis rather than address underlying issues, and a pervasive culture of heteronormativity both within educational environments and New Zealand society all contribute to GSD students feeling excluded from their learning environments. A clear recommendation drawn from the literature examined is that the best way to instigate change is to use schools for their fundamental purpose: learning. Schools need to learn strategies to make GSD students feel safe, teachers need to learn how to integrate GSD topics into their curriculum and address GSD issues within the school, and students need to learn how to understand the gender and sexuality diverse environments they are growing up in.
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