Inclusion of queer literature in a School for Language Education at a university : a framework
Research has shown that South Africa is a queerphobic country where straight citizens either reject or tolerate queer individuals whose gender identity differs from the norm. Queerphobia negatively impacts the lives of queer individuals. Against this background, the present study argues that a queer-inclusive transformative teaching and learning framework for the language classroom can be used to address queer social injustices and create awareness and understanding of gender identities. However, even with a framework in place, service teachers and language lecturers who are willing to teach queer curricula require training, since many among them are uncertain of how to approach and implement such curricula. At the North-West University in South Africa, policies are in place that speak to queer individuals and engage, by implication, queer curricula. Despite this, queer curricula have not received much attention. Therefore, there is a need to develop a framework that is faculty and school specific for the implementation of a transformative and queer-inclusive curriculum. Such a curriculum could also contribute to the university’s transformation policies of teaching and learning within the School for Language Education (SLE). The content, pedagogical, pedagogical content, and technological pedagogical content knowledge of preservice teachers and language lecturers may be developed in terms of queer literature. Accordingly, this study’s research design incorporates qualitative case-study research within a transformative paradigm. The methods consist of purposive sampling, analysis of official documents, and questionnaires for data generation. Responses to these questionnaires elucidated the perceptions of preservice teachers and language lecturers of SLE regarding the teaching of queer texts and how prepared they felt to do so. The strategy comprised content analysis of official NWU documents around policies on transformation and data gleaned from participants’ responses to questionnaires. Though some preservice teachers and language lecturers were willing to teach and learn about queer curricula, it was found further that they were hesitant about this due to unpreparedness and limitations pertaining to personal values and beliefs. The framework presented here therefore employs the official policy documents and Mezirow’s “perspective transformation” to instil a mind change among service teachers and language lecturers regarding the teaching and learning of queer curricula; the framework also provides an outline of a queer curriculum. It further incorporates the backward design to lesson planning. This study contributes to the existing body of knowledge on how to resist and combat queerphobia, and, in the process, contribute to a more inclusive environment for queer individuals. Databases consulted: EBSCOhost, JSTOR, African Journals (previously SAePublications), A–Z Publication Finder, Google Scholar, and Google.
- Education