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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Maria José Botelho

Second Advisor

Denise K. Ives

Third Advisor

Angela Willey

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Other Education | Reading and Language | Secondary Education and Teaching | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore how teaching an English literature curriculum centered on the stories, experiences, cultures, histories, and politics of LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) people constitutes a meaningful site for teaching and learning in a high school classroom. The dissertation offers insights on how the teaching of LGBTQI-themed texts in English language arts classes can be reframed by bridging the goals, practices and conceptual tools of queer theory to critical literacies teaching. The project follows principles of critical qualitative research and employs an ethnographic case study approach with the purpose of transforming educational praxis. The study was conducted in an elective English literature class titled Gay and Lesbian Literature available to juniors and seniors at a public high school in Western New England. During the spring trimester of the 2012-2013 School Year, I observed the class, conducted interviews with the teacher and the students, asked the students to complete two questionnaires, and collected material artifacts. Analysis followed a modified grounded theory approach as I coded the empirical materials using the software program MAXQDA and then generated themes and deeper understandings through the process of analytical writing. Drawing upon principles of critical education, queer pedagogy, and critical literacies, and the findings from the classroom study, I propose a theoretical framework and pedagogical approach for creating, implementing, and analyzing LGBTQI-expansive curricula that provide students with opportunities to critically and queerly engage with LGBTQI-themed texts. I conceptualize queer literacies as a process of critical reading practices that include six interconnecting dimensions. I demonstrate how the dimensions of queer literacies were enacted through queer moments in the Gay and Lesbian Literature class by analyzing and featuring examples from the curriculum, classroom micro-interactions, and student projects. In the process, I show how the dimensions of queer literacies can promote pedagogical shifts that allow teachers and students to engage with norm-disruptive sexualities, genders and sexes in new and productive ways, opening up spaces for new imaginaries for teaching issues around identity and social justice in schools. These research findings provide insights about queer praxis for high school classrooms.

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