Establishing Loving Spaces for Learning: Nurturing Gender & Sexual Identity Development in US Schools





This course explores both the role of gender and sexuality in shaping young peoples' schooling experiences, opportunities, and outcomes, and the role of schooling experiences in shaping young people's notions of gender and sexuality. In many ways, the course is about the "hidden curriculum" of heteronormativity, or the subtle practices in schools that privilege heterosexual, gendered identities and ways of being. As such, students in the course will apply the concept of the hidden curriculum to the study of gender and schooling in order to understand why and how children and youth with different gender identities experience schooling differently and why and how heteronormative schooling detrimentally impacts all students. By the end of the course, students should be able to: (1) identify specific strategies that educators at various levels might use to support students in negotiating gender and sexuality norms; (2) identify tools that schools can use to build positive, nurturing environments, which open up possibilities for complex gender and sexual identity development; and (3) analyze and evaluate a variety of school practices, curricula, policies, and programs that seek to support healthy gender and sexual identity development for U.S. children and adolescents. The course will provide opportunities to consider the ways in which other elements of identity (e.g., race, culture, socio-economic status, age, geography, etc.) intersect with gender and sexuality in the process of identity development. Although schools will be the central setting examined, course materials are also applicable to community-based settings.

Additional Information

Faculty: Gretchen Brion-Meisels  
Time: Wed, 10:00am – 12:59pm    
EDU T312