translated from Spanish: Study reveals that teachers are not prepared to deal with sexual diversities in the classroom

“At the institutional level we have not dealt with the issue. I’ve been here in school for eleven years, and we’ve discussed sexual diversity, no. The only thing the management tells us is that ‘at some point there are going to be transsexual students and we have to be prepared, accept them because there is a law.'” In this way, a teacher from Valparaíso relates the little preparation given by her establishment to work on school coexistence with gender diversity within the classroom, a phenomenon that is quite common among Chilean teachers, according to a study. The aforementioned teacher was one of the teachers who participated in a research that delved into the attitudes of teachers around diversity by sexual orientation, identity and gender expression. The results of the qualitative work detected that most of the respondents indicate that in their school, although there is a general framework of work based on tolerance and respect, this is generic and not enough to address issues related to diversity, such as knowing how to report or adequately punish the occurrence of discrimination or bullying.” Not having tools and suddenly seeing a trans student in the classroom see it as a problem because they don’t know what to do. It generates a lot of anxiety among school communities, “explains Matías Trujillo, deputy director of development of Fundación Todo Mejora, an NGO that promotes the well-being of children who suffer violence due to sexual and gender diversity, which led the study with the support of Unesco Santiago.Trujillo says that the research started after 2016 detected in a survey that 60% of students have heard cases of homophobic assaults from adults. To understand what was happening inside the classrooms, its surveyors interviewed at length a score of teachers from Santiago, Talca and Valparaíso to know their perceptions, while in parallel the curricular meshes of 132 pedagogy careers of the three cities were reviewed in detail. From this last review it was detected that in 60 careers analyzed there is no course related to psychology, learning or development; in 39 meshes the matter of diversity was addressed in some branch or workshop; and only one career included a course specially dedicated to sexuality and human coexistence.” Teachers have not received training on the subject in their career, so it is a problem that they do not have tools to manage, “says Trujillo.Among its other findings the survey revealed that teachers have become more aware of the existence of diversities, that younger teachers are more willing to deal with issues in their communities, and that they generally perceive that prejudice and violence towards these groups persist, but in “other schools” or in “society”. The newly released study collected data from 2018, the year with the highest number of complaints of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation recorded by the Superintendency of Education. That year there were 40 cases, and during the pandemic they dropped to eight in 2020 and to six so far in 2021.To help the scenario, Todo Mejora is working together with Etienne on a cycle of free talks to deliver tools on how to have better conversations with teenagers regarding school coexistence. The cycle called “School of Love” is available on its website and is aimed at parents and guardians of children.

Original source in Spanish

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