Sexualities of initial teacher education applicants in the Republic of Ireland: Addressing the hidden dimension of diversity in teaching
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Heinz, Manuela, Keane, Elaine, & Davison, Kevin. (2017). Sexualities of initial teacher education applicants in the Republic of Ireland: addressing the hidden dimension of diversity in teaching. Journal of Education for Teaching, 43(1), 99-116. doi: 10.1080/02607476.2017.1251103
While research and policy recommendations internationally have pointed to the need to diversify teaching populations with regard to ethnicity, social class background and, to a lesser extent, dis/ability, there is a paucity of research addressing sexualities as a diversity dimension in teaching. This article explores Initial Teacher Education (ITE) applicants and entrants (N=746) sexualities and the intersections of sexualities with other socio-demographic background variables and career motivations. Our analysis suggests that the topic of sexual orientation caused high levels of discomfort among respondents and that sexual minority student teachers are underrepresented in ITE cohorts in Ireland. The socio-demographic and motivational profiles of our non-heterosexual respondents generally mirrored those of their heterosexual counterparts. Non-heterosexual respondents reported a stronger motivation to affect social change and lower levels of participation in religious services. Findings are discussed within the context of persisting cultural and institutional barriers for sexual minority (student) teachers in Irish schools and in ITE.