25 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Self-expression is a conspicuous notion upon which democracy is built on. It is essential for the development of a democratic society and it is required for each individual’s self-actualization. This is why rebelliousness and controversy are inscribed in the act of free self-expression (Wacławczyk 2009). Because of its significance for the development of a human being as an independent entity, self-expression has entered the list of human and children’s rights.
The right to self-expression belongs to the group of soft rights, which means that violating it does not result in any penal or moral sanctions (Czerepaniak-Walczak 1997). For this reason, it is often trampled on in relation to adults as well as children. In this context, the issue of attention given by adults to children and young people’s opinions and views is growing in importance. Mary John claims that adults often do not pay enough attention to the message sent by children. They pretend to listen, which results in lack of understanding and conflicts (John 2006). In order for young people to be truly free and able to question the demands of the authority, they have to experience the respect for the right to self-expression or, as Henry A. Giroux would define it, the right to use one’s own voice. Depreciating young people’s freedom of self-expression conduces reproducing the social system and shaping masses of people without voice.
The results of many studies (cf. Ian Rivers and Helen Cowie , 2006; Adrian James and Sally McNamee, 2004; Ursula Kilkelly and others, 2005; Elżbieta Czyż, 1999) show that children’s rights to express their opinions and thoughts freely as well as to decide for themselves are often violated. This contributes to promoting the culture of silence among children. An example of this can be a Polish proverb: children and fish have no voice. The culture of silence is a consequence of violating children’s right to self-expression because adults (parents, teachers, politicians) express opinions and make decisions on behalf of young people, usually not consulting them beforehand. Phil Jones and Sue Welch (2010) suggest that a full image of a silent child is affected by three factors: the value of a child’s voice, the way of social exclusion of a silent child, and the dominating ways of communicating and decision-making determined by adults.
By taking away their voice, adults make children incapable of expressing themselves in a verbal and non-verbal way. Adults decide which person can say something, in what conditions and with the use of what means they can say it. Silencetraining takes place not only in the family but also at school, which are two most important education and socialization environments for children. It is conducive to creating enslaved units that are submissive to the authorities and which cannot defend their rights and fight for their freedom in adult lives, thus not being able to develop a relationship based on mutual respect with other people.
The theoretical background of the research were: J. Habermas’s concept of public sphere and communicative action, and H. A. Giroux’s concept of resistance as well as P. McLaren’s concept of the rituals of resistance. Functioning of the public sphere at school is essential for the possibility of free self-expression of students and teachers. Acts of self-expression can be done by free individuals who are aware of their rights and the responsibilities which they entail.
The subject matter was diagnosing the level of respecting the right to self-expression in lower secondary schools.
Czerepaniak-Walczak M. (1997), Gdy po nauce mamy czas wolny. Szczecińskie szkoły podstawowe wobec prawa dziecka do wypoczynku i zabawy, Wydawnictwo „PoNaD”, Szczecin. Czyż E. (1999), Stan przestrzegania praw wychowanków domów dziecka, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo IEG ACALTA. Erikson E. H. (2004), Tożsamość a cykl życia. przekł. M. Żywiecki, Zysk i S-ka Wydawnictwo, Poznań. Howe R. B., Corelli K. (2010), Miseducating children about their rights. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, No. 2, Vol. 5. James A., McNamee S. (2004), Can children’s voices be heard in family proceedings? Family law and the construction of childhood in England and Wales. "Representing Children", Vol. 16, John M. (2006), Poszanowanie poglądów dzieci. [in:] S. Hart, C. P. Cohen, M. F. Erickson, M. Flekkøy, Prawa dzieci w edukacji, Gdańskie Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne, Gdańsk. Jones P., Welch S (2010)., Rethinking Children’s Rights. Attitudes in Contemporary Society, London-New York, Continuum. Kilkelly U., Kilpatrick R., Lundy L., Moore L., Scraton P., Davey C., Dwyer C., McAlister A. (2005), Children’s Rights in Northern Ireland, NICCY and Queens’ University of Belfast, Belfast. Rivers I., Cowie H. A. (2006), Bullying and homophobia in UK school: A perspective on factors affecting resilience and recovery, "Journal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education", Vol.3. Wacławczyk W. (2009), Swoboda wypowiedzi jako prawo człowieka. [in:] L. Koba, W. Wacławczyk, Prawa człowieka. Wybrane zagadnienia i problemy, Oficyna a Wolters Kluwer business, Warszawa.
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