First Advisor

Emily de la Cruz

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Gender diversity, Preservice teachers, Sexual diversity, Teachers -- Training of -- United States, Multicultural education -- Study and teaching -- United States, Homosexuality and education -- Study and teaching -- United States, Gay students -- United States -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (xi, 193 p.) : ill. (some col.)


Currently in the United States there are more than 4 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students in K-12 public schools (Bochenek, Brown, & Human Rights Watch, 2001). Despite the prevalence of LGBT youth and the diversification of family populations, teacher preparation programs rarely acknowledge "queer" aspects of multiculturalism (Letts, 2002). As a result, a majority of K-12 educators enter the field of teaching unwilling and/or unprepared to engage with queer issues as they relate to students and families, curriculum, and instruction. The culture of silence around homosexuality can put queer youth at risk and deter school stakeholders from addressing queer issues, the discussion of which can lead to deepened understanding, increased empathy, and social action. Employing critical social theory as a theoretical framework, this paper examines the promise of increased awareness about and use of queer-inclusive pedagogy and curriculum in pre-service teacher education. It is argued that such inclusion is necessary to counteract heterosexism in schools that reinforce gender norms and impart heteronormative values. Guided by interpretivist inquiry, the current multiple-case study describes how eight pre-service teachers encountered, made sense of, and responded to sexual and gender diversity in their K-8 field placements. Findings are presented in individual case descriptions followed by a cross-case synthesis and suggest that pre-service teachers came into direct and constant contact with queer issues. Participants' overwhelming desire to process and make sense of their encounters as a means of supporting students as well as negotiating their own personal sense of identity also emerged from the data. The implications of these findings for pre-service teacher education are discussed as is a proposed framework for queer inclusion and next steps for future research.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Educational Leadership and Policy

Persistent Identifier