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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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University of East London (Docklands Campus)Listening to Learners: Partnerships in ActionWednesday 22 April, 2009

Student voice, democracy and the necessity

of radical education

Michael Fielding

Institute of Education, University of London

[email protected]


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Recent Contexts

  • Changing view of childhood

  • UN Convention on Rights of the Child 1989

  • School improvement

  • OfSTED Inspection framework

  • Citizenship + Healthy Schools

  • Consumerism

  • Public service ‘reform’

  • Children’s Commissioner

  • Work of Professor Jean Rudduck


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Immediate Contexts

Government Legalisation / Initiatives / Research

  • Every Child Matters

  • Personalised Learning

  • Specialist Schools & Academies Trust

  • NCSL

  • ‘Real Decision Making? School Councils in Action’

  • ‘Working Together: Giving children and young people a say’

    NGOs / Foundations

  • Esmée Fairbairn / Carnegie YPI

  • Futurelab

    Academic Research + Publications

  • ESRC TLRP ‘Consulting Pupils about T&L’


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New pressures …

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New pressures …Birth to three matters

 Maps ‘Skill & competence’ of babies

and toddlers aged 0-3

 4 themes,

 16 dimensions,

 64 components with detailed guidance on

Observing & recording

Planning

Responding to diversity

Challenges


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Range of Student Voice Activities (1)

Peer support

 Buddying systems

 Peer tutoring / listening

 Peer teaching

 Peer mediator

 Circle time (same year / mixed age)


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Range of Student Voice Activities (2)

Organisational reflection + renewal

 ‘School’ / student councils

  • Student teams e.g. Mulberry School for Girls, Tower Hamlets /

    Blue School, Wells / Ringwood School, Hampshire

     Working party reps  Student governors

     Student ambassadors  Tour guides

     Appointment panels

     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


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Range of Student Voice Activities (3)

Teaching & Learning

 AfL

 Lead-learners

 Students as Learning Partners

 Students-as-co-researchers

 Students-as-researchers

 Student-led learning walks

 Evaluating work units

 Dept / Unit development plans


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Range of Student Voice Activities (4)

Classroom consultation

(with your own class)

 Classroom observation (including SaLPs)

 Video recording

 Questionnaires

 ‘Transforming learning’

 Focus groups  Interviews

 Suggestion boxes  Diaries

 Photos  Collage

 Learning Review Meetings


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From audience to author, from data to dialogue (1)how adults listen to and learn with students in schools


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From audience to author, from data to dialogue (2)how adults listen to and learn with students in schools


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Ongoing practical challenges (1)

Inclusion

Which students? Whose voices?

 race

 gender

 social class

ability labelling

 An unusual, elite activity?

or

an inclusive commitment that involves all students in all aspects of their lives at school?


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30% decline in sense of being "listened to" around teaching + learning between Y3 + Y11

  • Despite 2004 Children Act and OfSTED's 2005 framework,Antidote’s recent School Emotional Environment for Learning Survey (SEELS) survey of 23,000 students shows that, between Y3 and Y11, they experience a 30% decline in their sense of being "listened to" around teaching and learning.

  • ‘Students say the structures + systems set up to collect their views involve too few people + have little chance of making meaningful changes to school life.  The students taking part are often the most articulate, intelligent + well-behaved. The rest then feel there is little point in even being interested.’Source Antidote e-News, November 2008


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Ongoing practical challenges (2) + learning between Y3 + Y11

Teacher tensions

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”

Using students?

Refusing the role of ‘quality assurance donkeys’

‘Beating up’ teachers? e.g excesses of covert observation


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Ongoing intellectual challenges (1) + learning between Y3 + Y11

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

3 Democracy

 little sustained or confident reference to democracy as a way of living and learning


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Ongoing intellectual challenges (2) + learning between Y3 + Y11

4 History

 no sense of historical location + the glib dismissal of anything prior to 1988

 Countering ‘the enormous condescension of posterity’

E. P. Thompson


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Thinking back and thinking at all + learning between Y3 + Y11

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.

Source

Social Amnesia:

a critique of conformist psychology

Russell Jacoby

1996


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Ongoing intellectual challenges (3) + learning between Y3 + Y11

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


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New developments in student voice: shaping schools for the futurepart funded byEsmee Fairbairn Foundation

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


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What it means to live a good and meaningful life future

‘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’

Nick Stevenson

Soundings ‘Class and Culture debate’ (2008)

http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/journals/soundings/class_and_culture/stevenson.html


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Spaces for dialogue and discussion future

Within the school

 Where are the spaces, both formal and informal for dialogue and discussion

 for students?

 for staff?

 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 ?




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DEMOCRATIC RELATIONSHIPS futureSt George-in-the-East Secondary School, London (1953)


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A vision of what the new form of Secondary School can be future

‘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


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Why Alex Bloom is important future

 Caring relationships

 Freedom in the context

of community

 Significance and

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


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