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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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@example.com
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
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 …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
Range of Student Voice Activities (1) Peer support Buddying systems Peer tutoring / listening Peer teaching Peer mediator Circle time (same year / mixed age)
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
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
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
From audience to author, from data to dialogue (1)how adults listen to and learn with students in schools
From audience to author, from data to dialogue (2)how adults listen to and learn with students in schools
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?
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
Ongoing practical challenges (2) 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
Ongoing intellectual challenges (1) 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
Ongoing intellectual challenges (2) 4 History no sense of historical location + the glib dismissal of anything prior to 1988 Countering ‘the enormous condescension of posterity’ E. P. Thompson
Thinking back and thinking at all 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
Ongoing intellectual challenges (3) 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
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
What it means to live a good and meaningful life ‘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
Spaces for dialogue and discussion 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 ?
DEMOCRATIC RELATIONSHIPSSt George-in-the-East Secondary School, London (1953)
A vision of what the new form of Secondary School can be ‘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
Why Alex Bloom is important 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