Changing the narrative. A photo elicitation study of LGBT+ secondary school teachers in England

Brett, A., 2021. Changing the narrative. A photo elicitation study of LGBT+ secondary school teachers in England. EdD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This EdD thesis presents a contemporary, exciting and important insight into the lives of LGBT+ secondary school teachers. The existing literature positions LGBT+ teacher visibility as almost entirely problematic. This thesis provides a nuanced, and at times, positive narrative, exploring the ways in which LGBT+ teachers are often made hyper-visible or invisible by their school environments. The thesis argues that this visibility can be experienced as a source of strength, offering important positives for both LGBT+ teachers and the schools in which they work.

The literature review examines the ways in which schools are experienced as heteronormative environments, where LGBT+ identities are often made either invisible or hyper-visible.

The research engaged 12 LGBT+ teachers in a photo elicitation project where they took photos in their school to represent their lived experiences. They were asked to photograph spaces where they felt safe and unsafe, as well as the ways in which LGBT+ identities were formally presented. The significance of these photos were then later discussed in one-to-one interviews.

The thesis explores two key themes from the data. Firstly, the ways in which schools are produced as heteronormative spaces, and how this production can be interrupted. Secondly, the ways in which LGBT+ teachers are visible/invisible in contrast to these heteronormative spaces and the implications of this.

The thesis concludes that although LGBT+ teachers still face challenges due to the inherent heteronormativity of schools, there are many opportunities for teachers who are able or willing to be visible. Some of the teachers in the study found that their LGBT+ identity gave them a form of cultural, or queer, capital that allowed them to progress the cultures of their school and develop more meaningful relationships with students and colleagues.

My hope is that this thesis contributes to a newly developing discourse; a discourse where LGBT+ teachers’ identities are seen and experienced as sources of strength and opportunity.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Brett, A.
Date: August 2021
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Institute of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 20 Jan 2022 14:37
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2022 16:37

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