Chapter 1: Queerly Affective Failure as a Site of Pedagogical Possibility in the Sexuality Education Classroom

  • Kathleen Quinlivan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


This chapter explores dilemmas that emerged in a research partnership to engage with gender and sexual diversity within the classroom of a Year 11 high school sexuality education teacher, the students, and I. Challenging normative pedagogical practices which privilege rationality, cognition, and neoliberal investments in success, the chapter speaks to insights to be gained from attending to affect and failure as sources of insight for teaching and learning about everyday sexuality and gender politics as they emerge in young people’s lives in the classroom. Drawing on queer and affect theory, I problematise the effects of referring instances of hetero and gender normativity outside the classroom to be dealt with through traditional school bullying procedures. Instead I suggest that framing both teacher's, student's, and researcher's ‘affective failures’ as sources of insight and possibility, provide pedagogical opportunities for engaging more queerly with the lived dynamics of sex and gender politics as they are occurring in young people’s lives, and as an integral part of sexuality education programmes in the classroom.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Quinlivan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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