April 30 #CdnELTchat: Trans Canada: Making #LGBTQ+ Materials Accessible

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By Bonnie Nicholas

The April 30 #CdnELTchat was our second follow-up chat to a @TutelaCanada webinar. Participants from across Canada and the U.S. were joined by our special guest moderators, Rowan Furlotte (@rojfurlotte) and Kate Ross (@kate_ross_isans) of ISANS in Nova Scotia after their April 24 webinar, Trans Canada: Making #LGBTQ+ Materials Accessible to Clients and Instructors. Thanks once again to Diane Ramanathan (@ram_diane), Tutela Community Coordinator, for facilitating this collaboration. We hope to do more of these in the future.

Here are some key points from the chat:

  • LGBTQ rights are human rights.
  • Students/clients and staff/admin/instructors/managers need constant, normalized, embedded exposure to #LGBTQ+ people and themes.
  • Ask students to think critically about who is included and who is not in texts and classroom materials.
  • Use inclusive language (think singular they) and images (think non-binary).
  • Teacher training is a must; try to involve local community groups.

We’ve created a Google Doc with ideas for further reading and resources: http://bit.ly/LGBTQinELT. Thanks to everyone who shared resources! Please add any additional links and resources that you have found useful; we will continue to update this Doc as well.

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow a Twitter chat by searching for #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets. Because the conversation was so wide-ranging, all the questions and answers have been collected in this summary on Wakelet.  

Q1 What are some ways that I can open up a discussion around #LGBTQ issues in my classroom?

Q2 How can I be sure that I am using the right language, especially if I am not a member of the #LGBTQ community?

Q3 How can we tease out the difference between inclusion and belonging? In other words, what can we do in our classrooms to make sure #LGBTQ students really feel like they belong?

Q4 What strategies or resources can you recommend for instructors who may be uncomfortable talking about #LGBTQ+ issues with students?

Q5 What are some ways that someone who is not a member of the #LGBTQ+ community can be an ally to #LGBTQ+ coworkers and students, especially in the education context?

Q6 If I can just take one small step in my class this term, what is the most important thing to do?

We collect questions and comments for each chat on this Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat, so we are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • What are some ways that someone who is not a member of the #LGBTQ+ community can be an ally to #LGBTQ+ coworkers and students if they experience homophobia or transphobia?
  • What #LGBTQ+ resources can you recommend using with students, especially at lower CLB levels?
  • Can you recommend any online resources for up-to-date information for news and resources for integrating #LGBTQ+ information into our classes?
  • Many of us are already Indigenizing the curriculum, integrating #Indigenous ways of knowing into our teaching. What are some ways to seamlessly integrate awareness of the #LGBTQ+ community in the same way?

Our final question (which we rarely get to during the chat) is always the same:

  • What are you going to do differently as a result of tonight’s chat?

While I was preparing the summary, I came across #queer_educhat. The inaugural chat for this hashtag was held on May 1, and participants not only shared their ideas and stories but also some awesome resources. Read their chat summary here. As well, Tyson Seburn’s (@seburnt) plenary from #BCTEAL19, Our Materials Oxymoron and the Inclusion of LGBTQIA Narratives is now posted on the @bcteal YouTube channel.

If you’re new to Twitter or curious about how a Twitter chat works, you can check out this post on the BC TEAL blog, How to join a Twitter chat. The #CdnELTchat community on Twitter is always helpful, and the #CdnELTchat team can also answer questions. Just tweet or DM any of us: Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL).

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Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@LINCInstructor). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

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