Who would like to live in a world where we are all treated equally and fairly?
Then let's begin our journey to LGBT+ inclusion...
Oh no, not another thing we have to do?… How many times have we all sat in an unwanted staff meeting either emailing, marking or texting our colleagues? We’ve all done it!
My goodness, we all have enough to do on a daily basis in our school already, which is why at Educate & Celebrate we do not advocate that you write more lesson plans, but rather simply employ strategies that make LGBT+ inclusivity part of everyday school life.
The 'usualising' pedagogy
The aim is to make all the equality strands of The Equality Act 2010 part of your existing practice and part of the fabric of the school. Which is why training, particularly in individual subject areas, is imperative to broaden your knowledge base. In a nutshell, we are asking teachers to ‘change, and not simply mirror our society’ (Casper & Schultz 1999, p.15) through what you are saying in your existing lessons by adopting the ‘usualising’ pedagogy.
How to integrate the learning into the curriculum
A good way to achieve this is to portray the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans + people, both past and present. Educate & Celebrate offer free lesson plans and resources to get you started. Essentially, we are helping to create a generation where treating everyone equally and fairly is just what people do.
Our methods and pedagogies have been developed by responding to the needs of teachers. Our three primary school case studies reported the barriers to LGBT+ inclusion to be:
– lack of training for teachers
– general lack of knowledge of sexual orientation and gender identity and the language associated with it
– cultural differences
– parents’ values
– resources to take the initiative forward
Over the years our participants have agreed that training has given staff the confidence and permission to use a new LGBT+ language within their lessons and address potential questions in a factual way, a teacher commented ‘fact is very important, this is the law and it’s the same law that protects you to follow your faith. Of course, we are going to talk about homophobia biphobia and transphobia, it’s the same law, the equality agenda’
A teacher in the channel islands commented, ‘I used what I have learned following the Training Day to lead an Assembly, watched by all staff and all our children aged from 5 to 16, as well as parents: not an easy audience. I was very nervous but I followed the advice and guidance and it could not have gone better. As a result of my increased confidence in discussing this topic it has improved my ability to be clear and articulate when I am asked a question, by a child and members of staff. I feel so empowered by that day of training’.
About the author
Dr Elly Barnes MBE was voted No: 1 in The Independent on Sundays Pink List 2011 for her commitment to LGBT in education. As an experienced teacher, Elly began LGBT+Inclusive work with her year group in 2005, setting up her own school as a Diversity Training Centre for teachers in 2010, offering LGBT+ training and CPD to teachers nationally. Dr Barnes is the CEO and founder of Educate & Celebrate, who offer staff training, CPD days, Ofsted and DfE-recognised programmes including a Best Practice Award Programme and a Pride Youth NetworkProgramme which both offer accreditation for the school and staff members. You can also follow Educate & Celebrate on Twitter and Facebook.