by: Helen Grace Concepcion Q. Fernandez
This paper explores teacher understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity, andexpression (SOGIE) and its implications on student well-being. This study is not capableof determining correlations between teacher understanding and student well-being;however, interpretations about SOGIE becomes significant when managing inquiriesor concerns of students. This study involved eight in-depth interviews of teachers frompublic and private high schools in Iloilo, Philippines. The Positive Education Practices(PEPs) Framework was utilized as a practical assessment of how teachers approachinquiries about SOGIE, and how it shapes the school environment. Teachers recognizethat their students are seeking support in finding themselves, guidance on how to dealwith interpersonal relationships, and explanations about the vast information fed by massmedia. Results of this study have shown that SOGIE as a whole is a vague conceptto the teachers, as well as guidance counselors, and their approaches were found to beboth facilitating and impeding student well-being. The ambiguity of SOGIE is attributedto inadequate referents and the impermeable heteronormative Philippine school culture.It is recommended that teachers and guidance counselors should be equipped with thenecessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes through appropriate training in managingSOGIE concerns considering the needs of students, particularly those of the LGBTQadolescents. Educational institutions must provide a school environment that enablessocial and emotional literacy, positive emotions, positive relationships, engagement throughstrengths, and meaning and purpose. These facilitate student well-being where studentscan maximize their capacities and reach their full potential.
Keywords: teacher understanding, student SOGIE inquiries, SOGIE inquiry management, LGBT, positive education practices