sj Miller, Deputy Director for the Center for Research on Equity in Teacher Education within New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, says the rising moral panic over the treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming youth demands a global “reposition” of our thinking on these issues.

This month Dr Miller will be sharing his insights at Western Sydney University, and is set to deliver an address titled ‘Trans*+ing Classrooms and Schools: The Pedagogy of Refusal as Mediator for Learning under a “Trump” Regime’. 

The academic will unpack the ‘Pedagogy of Refusal’ concept, which outlines how teaching can be reconceptualised to embrace views and ways of being that don’t fit the ‘norm’. 

Student compliance, Miller says, is not always a good thing.
 
“Traditionally in educational settings, information is presented rigidly as fact. Anyone whose views differ from the mainstream is seen as problematic, and there is a culture in which teachers can be offended if they are disagreed with,” Miller says in a statement.
 
“One way that schools can be more inclusive, is to adopt a culture where alternate viewpoints are welcome and critical thinking is encouraged. When kids push back, and indicate that their views and feelings do not sit within the societal ‘norm’ – this kind of expression needs to be welcomed and valued."

Following the keynote, Miller will join a panel of academics and community representatives to discuss how this concept can be applied across Australia.

“Essentially, what we are talking about is creating an empowered and supported student body – with teachers in positions of leadership who encourage students to form their own opinions, and have the opportunity to refuse established belief systems,” Miller shares.