All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lois McFadyen Christensen

Advisory Committee Members

Grace Jepkemboi

Lynn Kirkland

Kathleen Lindsey

Tonya Perry

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2017

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education

Abstract

STRATEGIES EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS USE IN ORDER TO PROVIDE A WELCOMING CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT FOR STUDENTS WHO THEY PERCEIVE TO BE LGBTQ OR EXHIBIT STEREOTYPICAL CHARACTERISTICS FELECIA BROOKS-JONES EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ABSTRACT People who identify as Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning are becoming more socially accepted today than they were before. Laws have been passed to give same-sex couples equal rights as heterosexual couples. However, they are not always treated the same, especially here in the southeast, which is known as the Bible Belt. There is minimal research or literature in the field of education concerning early elementary LGBTQ students, which makes this study significant. Eight major themes emerged through the research conducted in this case study to determine strategies early childhood teachers use to provide a welcoming classroom environment for LGBTQ students or those who exhibit stereotypical characteristics. Through the analysis of the data and the triangulation of sources (interviews), eight recurring themes emerged regarding providing a welcoming classroom for LGBTQ students: single-parent homes, awareness of right and wrong, bullying, religious beliefs, lack of teacher preparation, media impact, non-judgmental classrooms, and imitation/mannerism. The research question was able to answer a central for inquiry: “What strategies do early childhood teachers describe that they develop and implement in order to provide a welcoming environment for students who they perceive to be LGBTQ or exhibit stereotypical characteristics?” Three sub-questions were as follows: 1. How do early childhood teachers describe how society influences their personal views? 2. How do early childhood teachers describe how they address bullying of students they perceive as LGBTQ from other students? 3. How do early childhood teachers characterize the ways that society in the U.S. influences the well-being of students who are or may be LGBTQ? The five participants in the study were selected based on a shared experience of developing and implementing strategies in order to provide a welcoming classroom environment for students who they perceive to be LGBTQ or exhibited stereotypical characteristics. Four of them were African American and one was Caucasian. They ranged from ages 36 to 42. It was determined that early childhood teachers use strategies such as individual respect, classroom community, and treating everyone the same in order to achieve a welcoming classroom environment for all students.

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