Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Challenging the Heterosexual ‘Norm’ in NZ Education

Sexual Cultures in Aotearoa NZ Education

New Zealand has a high degree of social inclusion and some of the most advanced human rights legislation. Yet recent research suggests that New Zealand’s relatively ‘inclusive’ social climate is not always reflected in our educational settings. Sexual Cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand Education looks at how learners and educators are responding to the cultural expectation that everyone is and should be heterosexual.

‘This book examines how the heterosexual presumption operates within education settings to the detriment of alternatives,’ says co-editor Alexandra Gunn. ‘We consider the way this shapes thinking, policies and practices, and we ask what this means for teachers, students and parents. How can education settings become more socially just sites of inclusion for sexual and gender diversity?’

Sexual Cultures includes work from emerging and established researchers and brings to light a range of practices that assist social justice-minded educators to challenge social exclusion and to expand education practices toward inclusivity and change.

‘Understanding more fully the way in which preconceptions about gender and sexuality work in everyday settings will help empower every educator,’ says co-editor Lee Smith. ‘The chapters in this book are intended as a tool for raising awareness and as a call to action.’

Sexual Cultures covers different sectors of New Zealand education – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary and alternative – and will be an invaluable resource for practising and qualifying teachers as well as teacher educators and researchers of gender, sexuality and education.

Alexandra Gunn works at the University of Otago College of Education teaching and researching in early childhood education, inclusion, assessment and teacher education. Alex’s work interests centre on social justice; in particular on teachers’ beliefs and practices and how these reflect, produce and disrupt taken-for-granted norms. She previously co-edited Te Aotūroa Tātaki: Inclusive early childhood education (NZCER Press).

Lee Smith finished her PhD (Education) at the University of Otago in 2012. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, youth and spatiality. Lee has conducted research with queer populations for a number of years and has published in a number of leading educational, youth, ICT and geography journals. She has recently been employed as an ARF at the University of Otago School of Dentistry where she is collaborating on research project about children’s visits to dental clinics.

Sexual Cultures
in Aotearoa NZ Education
Edited by Alexandra C. Gunn
and Lee A. Smith

Release Date: December 2015

ISBN 978-1-877578-68-7, $45

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