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

  • Author / Creator
    Lewis, Alison J
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Policy Studies
  • Specialization
    • Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Grace, Andre (Educational Policy Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Wimmer, Randolph (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Foster, Rosemary (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Wells, Kris (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Alderson, Kevin (University of Calgary - external)
    • Johnston, Ingrid (Secondary Education)