Exploring the Competencies of Educators who Serve Transgender Learners in Secondary School
The majority of transgender youth have learning experiences in school that are less than optimal; however, there is a paucity of research on the competencies of educators of transgender learners that could ameliorate the comorbidities and adversities they endure in secondary school. The purpose of this study was to explore what knowledge, attitudes, and skills educators apply to serve transgender learners in secondary school. The conceptual framework of servant leadership was used in this inquiry. A single case study design was used to examine a secondary school participating in the Alberta Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Educator Network that serves all students, including transgender learners. Seven educators from various disciplines and roles participated in a staged collection of data sources, including (a) a document, (b) a questionnaire, and (c) an interview. Data were analyzed using a priori coding, followed by pattern coding. Results showed that educators applied an interrelated and mutual standard of knowledge conventions, attitudinal compassions, and skillful collaborations through various dimensions of servant leadership unique to transgender learners. Educators collectively (a) drew from knowledge largely based on professional experience and grounded in what students had experienced; (b) drew upon attitudes largely based on a shared level of agreement for their thoughts, positions, and feelings and grounded in acceptance, empathy, and focus on the student; and (c) demonstrated skills largely based on their individual roles and grounded in backing students. The findings of this study contribute to positive social change by informing the paradigms, perceptions, and practices of professionals who serve this marginalized group of learners in secondary education.