Necessary Professional Development for K-12 Educators in Order to Better Accommodate Gender Difference Within Their Classroom Space
Gender variance in school-aged children is a topic that has only recently started to be discussed amongst educators and educational administrators (del Rio et al. 2014). While the unique needs of children who do not identify as one specific gender or another are plentiful, there is little information and research on how schools can best accommodate these children and young adults (Riley et al 2013). This paper will begin with a literature review that not only defines gender variance and explains key terminology that are often confused, but also will suggest ways that educators and school employees can become advocates for children who identify as gender variant. This literature review will also include information regarding effective professional development methods for K-12 educators. This paper will then analyze existing professional development programs and teacher education syllabi that seek to educate those within an educational community on dimensions of difference with a focus on gender variance. There is a lack of information on what professional development would be most effective in providing members of a school community with resources to best accommodate their students who identify as gender variant, so this paper will seek to provide recommendations on effective development based on the literature review, and the analysis of current professional development programs.