The Effect of an LGBTQ Themed Literary Instructional Unit on Adolescents’ Homophobia
Numerous scholarly works extol the use of LGBTQ themed literature as part of English language arts instruction with the implication that its use may improve the school climate for LGBTQ students; however, there is a dearth of research that empirically examines whether or not this type of instruction measurably impacts adolescents’ homophobia. To address this paucity, this study examined the ability of a dialogically organized, reader response–based instructional unit of the young adult novel Geography Club to reduce adolescents’ homophobia. A quasi-experimental design was used with eighth grade students in seven English language arts classes. Homophobia was measured using a researcher-created scale. Analysis of pretests revealed that girls had lower levels of homophobia than boys and that Black students had higher levels of homophobia than Hispanic students. Posttest results indicated that the intervention was successful in lowering homophobia. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a three factor solution: Interpersonal Homophobia, Attitudes toward Homophobia, and Sexuality as a Choice. Post-hoc tests revealed differing effect sizes for the aforementioned factors as well as showing that there was no backlash to treatment in participants with high pretest homophobia. This paper argues that schools and teacher education programs should make a serious effort to incorporate LGBTQ themed texts into curricula as part of a concerted effort to reduce the culture of homophobic violence that has become institutionalized in many schools.
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