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Gender Non-Conformity in Elementary Schools: Learning from the Experiences of Children who do not Conform to Gender Stereotypes Open Access


Other title
Elementary education
gender diversity
Gender variant
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Lewis, Alison J
Supervisor and department
Grace, Andre (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Johnston, Ingrid (Secondary Education)
Wimmer, Randolph (Educational Policy Studies)
Wells, Kris (Educational Policy Studies)
Foster, Rosemary (Educational Policy Studies)
Alderson, Kevin (University of Calgary - external)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This qualitative research study seeks to understand the educational experiences of elementary aged children who do not conform to gender stereotypes. The study explores the educational experiences of three children who have all identified as transgender while in elementary school. The study also embeds the experiences of the caregivers as they navigate through the educational system. All participants are from the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada area, and all documents are relevant to either the Edmonton or Alberta teaching contexts. Using a case study approach, the researcher first used each family’s experience as a separate case and then brought the experiences together to represent a collective case. The data collected consisted of interviews, observation notes, personal narratives and educational documents. The data collected indicates that conceptualizing gender along the binary of male and female does not allow for the creation of inclusive educational environments for students who do not conform to this binary. Therefore it is necessary to expand the understanding of gender to create a new normativity that accommodates gender diversity. In order to create inclusive educational environments which accommodate gender diversity, those within the educational environments must recognize gender beyond the binary of male/female. To be able to break away from the dominant conceptualizations of gender, intentional support for students, caregivers and teachers must occur. Those close to the children who are part of this study have indicated that the challenges they have encountered with regard to understanding gender differently have created opportunities for significant, positive growth and change.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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