Curriculum Inquiry: Untangle, Include, & Start Early Stop Reifying and Start Reshaping Elementary School Curriculum
David Goldberg & Greg Knotts

Abstract

For LGBTQ+ students to find success in schools, curriculum must be intentionally designed and implemented. In this position paper, we first highlight how curriculum serves as the mechanism by which schools ultimately shape and cement ideas about the world. Next, we showcase how when curriculum is both designed and implemented using what we have defined as curriculum inquiry – a model of curriculum design that shifts essential questions and analyses beyond mere inclusion – LGBTQ+ students are more likely to find success in school. We call for a three-step process of untangling and then including sexuality and gender across multiple disciplines. By starting this process early in elementary school, students are asked to think critically about how gender minority roles are built, defined, and fulfilled by social and cultural norms. Our three-step process implores students to examine how gender minority roles vary from culture to culture and how gender and sexuality (and their intersection with ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic class) affect the way we are perceived and expected to behave in society. Lastly, we provide educators with practical examples of how they can use curriculum inquiry to repair damaged or incorrect student beliefs that reinforce a strictly binary system so schools and classrooms can become a place where children are free to express themselves confidently, appreciate others, and live harmoniously.