Garcia, Slesaransky-Poe: ‘The Heteronormative Classroom’

By Purnell T. Cropper | November 2, 2010

Dr. Ana María García, Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, and Dr. Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Associate Professor of Education, published an article on “The heteronormative classroom: Questioning and liberating practices” in The Teacher Educator, the journal of the Indiana Association of Teachers Educators (45{4}, 244-256).

“This article is a critical examination of the ideologies and practices that educators bring to bear on their classrooms in order to create inclusive, safe, and welcoming environments for all children, but particularly for children with gender variant behaviors and interests,” according to the abstract. “Using a feminist perspective, this article offers a new conceptual lens with which to examine classroom practices that reinforce the heteronormative classroom and, as such, restrict and constrain alternate forms of gender expression.

“We contend that children with gender variant behaviors and interests are not an alternate or pathogenic form of masculinity or femininity, but rather a healthy expression of a gender continuum. In order to support and nurture these expressions of gender, educators must be able to interrogate their own biases and how they manifest themselves in the language, processes, and expectations in and of their classrooms.

In this way, they can create learning environments in which gender is a dynamic and elaborated phenomenon where boys and girls, men and women, are encouraged to express themselves fully. As such, this article presents ways of thinking, inquiring, and embracing pedagogical practices that dismiss the views of gender as a binary system, in place of facilitating the expression of gender interests and behaviors in the most expansive and fluid ways,” they conclude.