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Queering Secondary English: Practitioner Research Examining Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and YA Queer Book Clubs

McLaughlin Cahill, Jennifer

This qualitative practitioner research study examined a ninth-grade young adult (YA) queer book club curriculum and culturally relevant pedagogy. Students read two out of nine queer-themed YA novels paired with a collection of nonfiction and media on topics that ranged from rethinking gender norms in society to historical issues that impact people with intersectional queer identities. The author collaboratively designed, planned, and taught the 6-week unit at the center of the study, Disrupting Dominant Narratives and Queer Book Clubs, using a critical queer pedagogy framework.

The findings illuminated the ways in which pedagogy that nurtures and prizes student voice, critical reading, discussion, and humanizing classroom discourse work to situate students as empathic critical readers and writers of the world. The findings suggest that analyzing queer- themed literature moves students to build empathy, disrupts oppression, and humanizes people of all identities, thus empowering youth as producers and consumers of knowledge that facilitates their growth and supports queer and questioning youth. In addition, students found common experiences as teenagers with the queer characters across the novels, therby affirming the decision to use exclusively YA fiction for the book club and serving to aid in disrupting dominant discourses about queer youth. The study concludes with a suggestion for seven implications for practice and a call for further research that aims to advance culturally relevant queer pedagogy.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Sealey-Ruiz, Yolanda
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 3, 2019