Teachers ‘need more support’ when it comes to educating children during LGBT+ History Month, an expert has said.
Yuwei Xu, an assistant professor in teaching and education at Nottingham University, said improvements are needed even in primary schools.
Celebrating LGBTQ History Month can challenge the way teachers and students interact with each other, he explained.
Yuwei said that past experiences can have a knock-on affect on how the month is approached.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘In my research I spoke to one teacher who is a lesbian, and she said she suffered discrimination in the past.
‘So that experience has affected the way she thinks, as she said she doesn’t feel comfortable or confident talking about it to her students.’
He added: ‘There are definitely areas for improvement with how schools can be teaching LGBTQ History Month.
‘It’s not that teachers are not doing enough, but they need more support.
‘It’s about their own awareness, their own confidence, in addition to their already high workload.’
The right support can also help teachers become more ‘unconsciously aware’ of how gender and sexuality can impact a pupil’s experience at school.
Yuwei continued: ‘The month can help impact how individual students embed themselves and how teachers interact with students.
‘As pupils get older – into sixth form and college age – there is still a kind of heteronormativity. So discussing these assumptions openly at school can help challenge it.
‘Heteronormativity can impact how girls and boys interact with each other and how friendships and relationships are forged at a young age.’
Yuwei explained the impact of teaching about the month can even have positive knock-on affects on primary school-aged children, as teachers can become ‘more aware’ of gender differences.
But even with room for improvement, the teaching of LGBT+ History Month remains essential in celebrating diversity in British schools.
Yuwei said: ‘I hope that LGBT+ History Month is something we won’t need in the future, but at the moment there seems to be a lot of existing issues and and unawareness, and unconscious bias as well.
‘It should be everyday practise to explore and understand the diversity of all human beings as part of the curriculum in schools.
‘LGBTQ teaching affects everyone, as everyone either has family members, teachers, student or they themselves are part of the community.
‘But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.’
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