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ERIC Number: EJ902673
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1536-3031
Reduction of Stigma in Schools: An Evaluation of the First Three Years
Payne, Elizabethe; Smith, Melissa
Issues in Teacher Education, v19 n2 p11-36 Fall 2010
High school is a profoundly social experience for students. Having friends is central to being "visible"--to having an identity--in school. Social positioning, friendship groups, romance dramas, and the battle to "fit in" gain the attention and drain the energy of students far more than do academic pursuits. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youths' social relations are fraught not only with the usual adolescent tensions, but also include fears of having their sexual or gender identity discovered, of losing friends, of being marginalized. For youth who are "out," or who are judged by peers to fail in their performance of heterosexuality or hegemonic gender, taunting and harassment, isolation, and marginalization are daily occurrences. Students' ability to succeed in school relies not only on quality teaching and academic resources but also on a supportive school environment that fosters their growth as individuals and affirms their worth as human beings within this social setting. LGBTQ youth rarely receive such affirmation in school. Educators need to gain a clear understanding of the ways in which LGBTQ youth experience their schools, they need new ways to "see" both their own interactions and the student interactions going on around them, and they need tools for change. In fall 2006, the Reduction of Stigma in Schools[C] (RSIS) program began working in the Central New York area to bring increased awareness of the LGBTQ youth experience into area schools. This innovative professional development model aims to provide school personnel with information and resources that will empower them to advocate for LGBTQ students and to disrupt institutional practices that limit these youths' access to social power in the school environment. In September 2009, the program reached the "1000 educators trained" mark. The feedback from participating educators has been overwhelmingly positive, and the study on which this article is based explored the experiences of those who participated in the RSIS program over its first three years. The overall goal of this larger research project was to discover where the program has been successful and where changes are needed as well as to develop a deeper understanding of the meaning, in terms of their professional responsibility, that teachers make of their workshop experience. This article explores portions of the research relevant to the three workshop objectives and evaluative data offered by workshop participants on their experience. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York