The changing experiences of primary teachers: responding to scenarios involving diverse sexualities

Lisa van Leent*, Mary Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Sex education and diverse sexualities are controversial topics within the primary school arena. Concepts of childhood innocence have influenced sex education curriculum, policy development and teaching practices within schools. However, research shows that primary school-aged students are aware of and talk about sexualities. The aim of this research is to reveal the pedagogical experiences of primary school teachers in relation to scenarios inclusive of diverse sexualities. Social constructionist theories of pedagogy and phenomenographic methods are used to provide a detailed analysis of the ways in which primary teacher participants conceptualise their encounters with students who introduce concepts of diverse sexualities. This research reveals that primary students ask questions about diverse sexualities, they use homophobic expressions (often as a daily occurrence), they sometimes reveal homosexual feelings to teachers, some have same-sex parents and some are being raised with knowledge of diverse sexualities. Without comprehensive policy and curriculum support, and appropriate professional learning for teachers, teachers are unable to make well-informed pedagogical decisions that promote inclusive education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-725
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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