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Pupil voice: comfortable and uncomfortable for teachers. Key issue addressed by the study. This study explored: pupils’ views about three lessons teacher s’ reactions to their pupils’ comments how the teachers used the pupils’ ideas with their classes.

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key issue addressed by the study
Key issue addressed by the study

This study explored:

pupils’ views about three lessons

teachers’ reactions to their pupils’ comments

how the teachers used the pupils’ ideas with their classes

ideas pupils gave for improving lessons
Ideas pupils gave for improving lessons
  • Pupils suggested:
    • interactive teaching –‘If he asked more questions then we’d become more alert’
    • linking new learning to something familiar
    • being given greater independence - ‘We enjoyed writing stuff that we found out ourselves …’
    • collaborative learning to help them express themselves and develop understandings
criteria teachers applied to the pupils ideas before using them
Criteria teachers applied to the pupils’ ideas before using them

Teachers needed the pupils’ suggestions to be:

practical

popular with the class

likely to be effective

educationally desirable

the suggestions teachers found acceptable
The suggestions teachers found acceptable
  • Helpful suggestions were those that:
    • asked their teachers to extend existing or previous practices (e.g. investigational work)
    • encouraged teachers to persist with innovative ideas
    • were sensible, practical and purposeful (e.g. discussing wrong results more)
what happened when the teachers tried out their pupils ideas
What happened when the teachers tried out their pupils’ ideas
  • Three different experiences:
    • two teachersgrew increasingly enthusiastic
    • two experienced success in the short-term
    • two teachers’ experiences were unsuccessful
experiencing short term success
Experiencing short-term success

Two teachers:

decided to include e.g. more collaborative and practical work

successfully incorporated the ideas into their teaching

six months later their teaching was no different to before

felt constraints of normal school routines had made some ideas unrealistic

growing enthusiasm for pupil voice
Growing enthusiasm for pupil voice

Two teachers:

initially had difficulty incorporating pupils’ suggestions

persisted

felt the changes they had made had improved pupil motivation and independence

continued to consult pupils

encountering problems with using pupil voice
Encountering problems with using pupil voice

Sometimes the teachers:

overestimated their pupils’ capabilities –e.g. their group working skills

were disappointed with the results – e.g. having more discussion created more noise

comfortable learnings
Comfortable learnings

There was no need for the teachers to feel concerned about pupils commenting on their teaching because pupils:

made constructive suggestions

knew what helped them to learn

often asked teachers to extend existing or past practices

challenges of pupil voice
Challenges of pupil voice

The researchers noted how:

the pupils teachers most need to hear from are the most difficult to consult

genuinely responding to pupil voice involves a change in the balance of classroom power

concerns about complying with statutory requirements led some to view pupil voice less seriously e.g. relegating pupils’ ideas to the end of term rather than building them into lessons

who were the children in the study
Who were the children in the study?
  • Year 8 pupils from three secondary schools
  • Two English, two mathematics and two science classes
how was the information gathered
How was the information gathered?

Six pupils broadly representative of each class interviewed individually about three lessons

Transcripts of the interviews fed back to teachers who were interviewed a few days later about their reactions to the pupils’ ideas

Researchers investigated teachers’ use of their pupils’ ideas

Each teacher was visited again the following academic year to see whether the teachers were still using pupil voice, and if so, how

how can teachers use the evidence in this study
How can teachers use the evidence in this study?
  • The teachers tended to act on practical suggestions which the pupils agreed with
  • Would having a whole class discussion help your pupils to make practical and popular suggestions?
  • Pupils wanted to be trusted to learn and to collaborate with their peers more
  • Would your pupils welcome more opportunities for collaboration and greater autonomy in their learning?
how can school leaders use the evidence in this study
How can school leaders use the evidence in this study?
  • Some teachers in the study had more success articulately when they persisted than others when responding to pupil voice
  • Would collaborating with colleagues help teachers to evaluate and explore together their pupils’ suggestions and how they might respond to them?
  • Would taking an interest in how pupils’ suggestions work out help colleagues to persist?
follow up reading
Follow-up reading
  • Study reference: Pupil voice: comfortable and uncomfortable learnings for teachers McIntyre, D., Pedder, D., & Rudduck, J. (2005) Research Papers in Education, 20 (2) pp. 149-168
  • Summary available at: www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/research/themes/pupil_voice/comfortable/
feedback
Feedback
  • Did you find this useful?
  • What did you like?
  • What didn’t you like?

Any feedback on this Research Bite

would be much appreciated. Please email

your feedback to:

research.summaries@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk