Compulsory Heteronormativity and the Gendered Divide in Secondary Mathematics Education
There has been considerable published research concerning the marginalized experiences of racial minorities and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, the experiences of individuals that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender remain unclear. Given the current status of the gendered, male-oriented divide of standardized assessment performance in secondary mathematics, this creates a heteronormative climate that limits academic opportunities for queer and non-gender conforming youth. To disrupt the highly-masculinized representation of STEM disciplines and to foster more gender-inclusive practices in secondary mathematics education, this Capstone will analyze secondary mathematics classroom practices from an intersectional perspective of gender, race, sexuality, and gender identity. This Capstone will explore classroom design solutions to promote systemically equitable outcomes in mathematically-intensive disciplines for LGBTQ+ students. I will focus on developing pedagogical design solutions that minimize masculinized competition in secondary mathematics classrooms that only accommodate the success of white, heterosexual males. This Capstone will address the influence of neoliberalism that infiltrates the public education system and the hierarchical structures of power based on gender, race, gender identity, and sexuality that facilitate achievement disparities for queer and non-gender conforming youth in mathematics. I will use this theoretical perspective of gendered power dynamics to generate a foundational model of mathematics classroom methodology that accounts for the institutionalized masculinity of the current secondary mathematics curriculum. In the gender-inclusive classroom models that I put forth, the social construct of the gender binary will no longer be used as a reference for evaluating gender disparities in mathematics academic achievement. As a result, this Capstone aims to provide insight and pedagogical recommendations to redress compulsory heteronormativity in secondary mathematics classrooms by proposing cultural competency training for teachers and amendments to mathematics curriculum and assessments that can eliminate biases based on sexuality and rigid definitions of gender.
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