Toronto Metropolitan University
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Trans Forming Education: An examination of the ways in which Teachers' construct gender and understand gender independence in TDSB elementary school classrooms

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posted on 2021-05-23, 17:26 authored by Jessica Phillips
This study focuses on the ways in which teachers construct and understand gender and gender independence in children. This study also explores the ways in which teachers strive to accommodate and include children who are gender independent. Six elementary school teachers who were positive space representatives or who self-identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Queer (LGBTQ) advocates in their schools were interviewed regarding the ways in which they constructed and understood gender identity and gender independence in their classrooms. The teachers, who taught between kindergarten and grade eight, were questioned about their familiarity with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) guideline for the accommodation of transgender and gender non-conforming students and staff. Teachers' experiences with children who were gender independent were also examined. Interviews focused on examining the ways that teachers constructed gender in their classrooms. Teachers were asked to identify barriers to inclusion, as well as the resources and supports available regarding the inclusion of gender independent children. Teachers were also asked to identify any additional resources they felt would be beneficial towards facilitating the inclusion of children who were gender independent. A combination of theoretical lenses consisting of disability theory, queer theory and feminist theory has been used throughout this study. Themes found include: Gender as constructed, Gender as performed, teachers' roles in reinforcing or shaping gender performance, constructing male and female gender independence, and creating inclusive environments. The implications of these results include suggestions for creating classrooms and schools that are inclusive to children who may be gender independent.





  • Master of Arts


  • Early Childhood Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP