ERIC Number: EJ1111427
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 75
Coming out in Class: Challenges and Benefits of Active Learning in a Biology Classroom for LGBTQIA Students
Cooper, Katelyn M.; Brownell, Sara E.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v15 n3 Article 37 Sep 2016
As we transition our undergraduate biology classrooms from traditional lectures to active learning, the dynamics among students become more important. These dynamics can be influenced by student social identities. One social identity that has been unexamined in the context of undergraduate biology is the spectrum of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) identities. In this exploratory interview study, we probed the experiences and perceptions of seven students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA community. We found that students do not always experience the undergraduate biology classroom to be a welcoming or accepting place for their identities. In contrast to traditional lectures, active-learning classes increase the relevance of their LGBTQIA identities due to the increased interactions among students during group work. Finally, working with other students in active-learning classrooms can present challenges and opportunities for students considering their LGBTQIA identity. These findings indicate that these students' LGBTQIA identities are affecting their experience in the classroom and that there may be specific instructional practices that can mitigate some of the possible obstacles. We hope that this work can stimulate discussions about how to broadly make our active-learning biology classes more inclusive of this specific population of students.
Descriptors: Biology, College Science, Science Instruction, Homosexuality, Sexual Orientation, Sexual Identity, Student Experience, Undergraduate Students, Classroom Environment, Active Learning, Identification (Psychology), Semi Structured Interviews, Qualitative Research, Language Usage, Student Characteristics, Student Attitudes, Social Bias, Interaction, Self Disclosure (Individuals)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A