University of East London (Docklands Campus) Listening to Learners: Partnerships in Action Wednesday 22 April, 2009. Student voice, democracy and the necessity of radical education Michael Fielding Institute of Education, University of London [email protected] Recent Contexts.
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Observing & recording
Responding to diversity
Peer tutoring / listening
Circle time (same year / mixed age)
Organisational reflection + renewal
‘School’ / student councils
Blue School, Wells / Ringwood School, Hampshire
Working party reps Student governors
Student ambassadors Tour guides
Junior Leadership Teame.g.Greenford High School, Ealing
School Improvement Plans / policy writing
Mixed-age Circle Time e.g. Wroxham School, Potters Bar
Healthy Schools OfSTED ECM
Teaching & Learning
Students as Learning Partners
Student-led learning walks
Evaluating work units
Dept / Unit development plans
(with your own class)
Classroom observation (including SaLPs)
Focus groups Interviews
Suggestion boxes Diaries
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Which students? Whose voices?
An unusual, elite activity?
an inclusive commitment that involves all students in all aspects of their lives at school?
Pressures of time + curriculum coverage
Lack of institutional support
Beyond pockets of isolated practice (role of LA + national + international networks)
Consumerism or democratic agency? e.g.
“You’re no good, no bullet points, too much thinking,
not thick enough files”
Refusing the role of ‘quality assurance donkeys’
‘Beating up’ teachers? e.g excesses of covert observation
1 Becoming a person
no real account of how we become persons
2 Exploitation or fulfilment?
no way of distinguishing between new forms of exploitation / intensification + approaches that are genuinely concerned for the whole person
little sustained or confident reference to democracy as a way of living and learning
no sense of historical location + the glib dismissal of anything prior to 1988
Countering ‘the enormous condescension of posterity’
E. P. Thompson
Society remembers less and less faster and faster. The sign of the times is thought that has succumbed to fashion; it scorns the past as antiquated while touting the present as the best.
Society has lost its memory, and with it, its mind. The inability or refusal to think back takes its toll in the inability to think.
a critique of conformist psychology
5 Educational Values
presumption of sameness, domestication of ‘moral purpose’, + denial of radical traditions
6 Political Fundamentals
no attempt to distinguish between the demands of global capitalism and the possibility of a different kind of society
1 Radical inclusioninvolving those whose voices are seldom heard
2Reversing rolesstudents as agents of adult professional learning
3 Co-constructing the common goodremaking public spaces in schools where
adults + young people can have an open dialogue
‘In our short-term and disposable society there need to be spaces where young people can discuss what it means to live a good and meaningful life and the kinds of people they wish to become’
‘Living in “X Factor” Britain: Neo-liberalism and “Educated” Publics’
Soundings ‘Class and Culture debate’ (2008)
Within the school
Where are the spaces, both formal and informal for dialogue and discussion
for students and staff?
Where are the spaces for the exploration and articulation of a life narrative?
Where are the spaces for restless encounter where we come to re-see each other and open up a new possibilities ?
‘The pioneering and missionary
work which has been carried
out over the past two and a
half years, always in a spirit of confident adventure,
has attained not only the goal which the school set
itself from the beginning, but also something much
more – it has given a vision of what the new
form of Secondary School can be.’
Report by H.M. Inspectors
St, George-in-the East County Secondary School, Stepney, London
Inspected 25th-27th February, 1948
Freedom in the context
identity - contribute to common good
Worthwhile, inclusive community
Live the future now (radical tradition)
Democracy as a way of living + learning
insistent affirmation of possibility