25 SES 07, Special Call Session B - Inclusion and the Right to Participation
This contribution sets out to explore how young people understand and experience the notions of participation in their secondary schools. We draw on their experience to examine their point of view on participation in everyday life at school to comprehend what kind of inclusion/exclusion educational structures they are involved. The paper forms part of DEMOC research (2016 DEMOC 00012) one-year project called “The community service-learning as a social innovative practice in the local world. Analysis and proposals to improve” which studies the participation of young people in some service-learning projects that they are developing in their secondary schools. The background of this specific research is Demoskole project (2013-2016) which analyse participatory and democratic processes in five Catalan secondary schools, with the aim to promote and enhance its democratic, participatory and inclusive culture and daily practices. In fact, the possibility to develop this present research arose from Demoskole project, in order to continue investigating students’ participation in this specific high school. As Blitzer-Golombek (2009) states, it is only through the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) that it is recognized the capacity of children to participate as social actors. Consequently, they must be able to participate in equal conditions than adults (Chawla, 2001; Hill et al., 2004; Lodge, 2005; Sinclair, 2004). Therefore, citizenship can be understood as participation or, in other words, citizenship-as-practice (Biesta & Lawy, 2006; Lawy & Biesta, 2006. Is the citzenship-as-practice (Lawy & Biesta, 2006; Osler & Starkey 2005) connected to the quotidian dynamics of the democratic experiences that young people experience both inside and outside the school, and we disagree with the concept of citizenship-as-achievement of the school path. Lawy and Biesta (2006) explain that the idea of citizenship-as-achievement involves understanding that individuals can only exercise citizenship once they have had a certain educational trajectory and development of maturity. This last approach excludes children and youth from the opportunity to live and learn from their current condition as citizens. Therefore, as Gillard (2008) pointed out achieving social inclusion is about creating community-wide partnerships. Consequently, access and participation can be perceived as key elements in the process of social exclusion/inclusion. The extent to which different societal groups have access to the relevant economic, socio-cultural and educational resources and structures as well (as decision-making) processes will influence their (possibilities for) participation and with that their inclusion/exclusion. However, full (social) participation also requires mutual trust. Consequently, we used the term inclusion following the view from Ainscow and Booth (2000) as the process that aim to increase student participation and reduce exclusion culture in the curriculum and in communities. In our research, we outlined the experience of participating, of being active members in the construction of an educational community, is an element of great importance in the learning of a life in democracy. This is especially relevant in secondary education, an educational stage with great tensions, but at the same time with great possibilities. Being aware of these possibilities and limitations, in this paper we would like to analyze how a secondary school organized themselves as an educational community based on the implementation of service-learning projects to deepen an education for citizens understood as a way of living, as a process and not as a result to achieve in the future for every student.
 A 3-year project (2013-2016): Demoskole. Democracy, participation and inclusive education in the secondary schools. MINECO (Reference: EDU2012-39556-C02-02). Coordinator: Núria Simó-Gil (UVic-UCC). This is part of a larger coordinated project Democracy, participation and inclusive education in the educational centres. (Reference: EDU2012-39556-C02-01). Coordinator: Jordi Feu-Gelis (University of Girona).
DEMOC research is based on a collaborative approach (Christianakis, 2010; Meyer, 2001; Morse, 2009; Katz and Martin, 1997) to achieve the common goal to promote more participatory, democratic and inclusive practices in service – learning experience. Epistemologically, the study is an interpretative one that aims to understand the subjective significances of democracy and participation for the participants through a process of shared reflection between teachers, students and members of the entities. This contribution develop one case study (Stake, 1995) of one secondary school in Catalonia, a Spanish region. Regarding to this approach, the center provides us information about documents and reports of the project, contacts and knowledge of the entities, assessments as teachers and criteria for analysing and contextualizing this experience, as well as elements to design the data collection tools to collect the opinions about students and entities. Hence, we work collaboratively to create new conditions to investigate about this experience to promote participatory processes that guarantee the inclusion of all students. We were working with the theoretical framework created by a deep bibliographical review on the subject of research, specifically around three topics, such as social and civic competence, participation and networking. On the other hand, we use different data-collection tools, such as interviews or discussion groups to collect the opinions and points of view of students, as well as from different members of the entities. We collected students’ voices from two different groups, one group are 15 or 16 year-old students, and the second one are those that already finished compulsory education one or two years ago, they are 17-18 years old. Furthermore, in this case data-collection tools are designed as different proposals to collect individual and group opinions to reflect on their own experiences on service – learning. We also collected information about entities to know their opinions about this experience and their impact. For this reason, interviews have been designed to reflect on these processes and to identify and analyse the impact of the Community Service in the social and cultural context. In fact, the entities are diverse such as schools, residence of elderly people, local government or non-governmental Organization. To sum up, this contribution analyze fisrt results anout how a secondary school organized themselves as an educational community based on the implementation of service-learning projects to deepen an education for citizens.
One of the conclusions is that schools who value the participation as a shaft that goes beyond compliance with the activities of the academic life share a larger number of educational experiences that encourage a climate of positive center that affects an individual and group wellness more shared (Simovska, 2004). In this line, we maintain that the more committed to the participation of young people develop educational activities where young people take different decisions that make them protagonists of their own learning. For example, the case study we presented is known to go further and get involved in community activities such as learning-service projects. There are three key elements related to inclusion like participation, collaborative school culture and personal and communal narrative that emerge from the fieldwork. About student’s participation, the dialogue is the starting point, that is, dialogue as a tool to establish agreements between members of the educational community, and as a means for constructive criticism regarding school affairs. Students have more power to make decisions in schools considered as “public institutions where parents and children are considered as citizens capable of engaging in a democratic way of life and democratic forms of relationship including participation in the making of collective choices” (Fielding & Moss, 2011, p. 59) Related to a collaborative school culture, the community participation processes increase inclusive processes if it involves a transformation of the School Culture related with the redistribution of power among teachers, students, and families (McCowan, 2009, p.195). Finally about the personal and communal narrative, some centres create more spaces and opportunities both young people and adults, to make meaning of their work, both personally and as a community (Fielding & Moss, 2011). To sump up, we want to highlight that the high school structures are more inclusive to the extent that the educational practices are better.
Ainscow, M., Booth, T. (2000). Index for inclusion. Bristol: CSIE Biesta, G., & Lawy, R. (2006). From teaching citizenship to learning democracy: overcoming individualism in research, policy and practice. Cambridge Journal of Education, 36(1), 63–79. Blitzer-Golombek, S. (2009). Children as Citizens. Journal of Community Practice, 14(1-2), 11–30. http://doi.org/10.1300/J125v14n01 Chawla, L. (2001). Evaluating children’s participation: seeking areas of consensus. PLA Notes, IIED London, 42, 9–13. Christianakis, M. (2010). Collaborative Research and Teacher Education. Issues in Teacher Education, 19(2), 109-125. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Retrieved from United Nation Human Rights. http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx Feu,J.; Serra, C.; Canimas, J.; Lazaro, L. ; Simó-Gil, N. (2017). Democracy and Education: A Theoretical Proposal for the Analysis of Democratic Practices in Schools. Studies in Philosophy ans Education, 36 (6), 647–661. DOI: 10.1007/s11217-017-9570-7 Fielding, M., & Moss, P. (2011). Radical Education and the Common School: A Democratic Alternative Oxon/New York: Routledge. Gillard, J. (2008). Address to the Education, Employment and Social Inclusion Symposium, Northern Community Summit, Melbourne, 21 August. http://www.unisa.edu.au/northernsummit/resources/symposiumspeech.as p Hill, M., Davis, J., Prout, A., and Tisdall, K. (2004). Moving the participation agenda forward. Children & Society, 18, 77–96. Katz, J. S., and Martin, B. R. (1997). What is research collaboration? Research Policy, 26, 1-18. Lawy, R., & Biesta, G. (2006). CITIZENSHIP-AS-PRACTICE: THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF AN INCLUSIVE AND RELATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF CITIZENSHIP. British Journal of Educational Studies, 54(1), 34–50. Lodge, C. (2005). From hearing voices to engaging in dialogue: problematising student participation in school improvement. Journal of Educational Change, 6, 125–146. McCowan, Tristan (2009). Rethinking Citizenship Education: a Curriculum for Participatory Democracy. Continuum: London. Meyer, C.B. (2001). A case in case study methodology. Field Methods, 13(4), 329–352. Morse, J.M. (2009). Mixing qualitative methods. Qualitative Health Research, 19(11), 1523–1524. Osler, A., & Starkey, H. (2005). Changing citizenship: democracy and inclusion in education. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Simó, N., Parareda, A., & Domingo, L. (2016). Towards a democratic school: The experience of secondary school pupils. Improving Schools, 19 (3), 181-196. DOI: 10.1177/1365480216631080 Simovska, V. (2004). Student participation: A democratic education perspective - Experience from the health-promoting schools in Macedonia. Health Education Research, 19(2), 198–207. http://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyg024 Sinclair, R. (2004). Participation in practice: making it meaningful, effective and sustainable. Children & Society, 18, 106–118. Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
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