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Research Shorts: Making a safe learning environment for LGBTQ+ students

29th January 2024

The image is of Tony Rideout, who is wearing a dark blue spotty shirt and glasses.This week I’m delighted to meet Tony Rideout, a US based researcher who is completing his doctorate in Music Education as well as being a part time Music Education lecturer at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He also teaches General Music from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 5 in Long Hill Township Public Schools, New Jersey.

Tony’s work explores making environments safer for young LGBTQIA+ people. His recent article, ‘Incorporating Queer Theory into Culturally Responsive Teaching’, in Music Educators Journal arose as a result of the literature review of the dissertation he is currently writing:

‘As a queer music educator of color, I wanted to explore how to represent the LGBTQIA+ community as a part of my culturally responsive teaching practices. My main research question was: how to create a more welcoming and even safer environment for queer students in- and outside the music room?’

Starting with an examination of Queer theory scholarship, Tony went on to investigate ‘the tenants of culturally responsive teaching to see how they could apply to Queer theory’ and then applied that to the field of music education ‘to incorporate Queer Theory in a culturally responsive teaching practice’.

His work, he explained, is for music educators in training or currently teaching children and young people, as well as for those training music educators in Higher Education. It is Tony’s goal ‘to have music curricula that are representative of all cultures that are present within the school with the inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community’.

Tony’s research and passion is inspiring, and his work to create a safe learning environment for LGBTQIA+ students compelling. His work sets out three key ways of doing this:

  1. Respecting students’ sexual orientation, gender expression, chosen name, and pronouns
  2. Including queer themes and topics during class
  3. Highlighting LBGTQIA+ composers and musicians in the repertoire

Tony focuses his research around equity in music education and he has a particular interest in ‘culturally responsive practices, queer issues, and the Opportunity Gap Framework’.

Read More About This:

Tony’s journal article can be found here: ‘Incorporating Queer Theory into Culturally Responsive Teaching’ Music Educators Journal Volume 110, Issue 2 December 2023, 59-63, 

Find more about Tony’s work here.

Interview by Dr Sarah K. Whitfield – Research Lead for Music Mark

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