04 SES 13 C, Students’ Voices and Decision-making
Parallel Paper Session
This work is part of a larger research project that aims to improve schools through the development of inclusive educational processes from a community vision (Hord, 1997): Parrilla, A. (Dir.): “Schools towards Inclusive Education: working with the local community, the voice of students and educational support to promote change” (Ref. EDU2011-29928-C03-01).
More specifically, we refer this paper to children's participation in these processes of inclusion in education. Studies addressing the same point reveal several basic areas in which students can and should participate. Apud (2001) points to the family, school and social life as basic participation scenarios. Other works (MEC, 2008) identify the local community, public policy and society itself as environments where it is necessary to promote participation and to learn how to practice it.
The approach of listening to and involving children and young people in decisions that affect them has been developed during last years. The term "student voice" is well known in the European context trough Fielding and Moss (2010), Rudduck and Flutter (2007) among other authors, and in Spain by Susino (2009) and Susino and Haya (2011) contributions. This movement is becoming stronger in all over the world, and has not only claimed the right of students to be heard on various aspects of school life, but also defended their legitimate participation, and has documented how to make such participation a genuine process, based on the possibilities of children’s reflection, dialogue and action (Lewis et al, 2004; Robinson y Taylor, 2007).
Based on these assumptions, our goal is to promote effective changes in the school and local life in relation to inclusive education processes, from the children’s insights and contributions. These are the general objectives that have guided our work:
- Access to the eyes of children about diversity and their current inclusive experiences at school and local background (A Estrada, Pontevedra, España).
- Designing school first platforms to enable active and projective children’s participation on improving the school and local background.
- Include their views on the projects that each shool is developing to advance in the direction to inclusion, that is, to break with the tradition of incorporating only the teachers’ perspective and needs, including also the ideas and values perceived by students.
- Encourage student participation at local level, including their voices in the educational projects of their community.
Within the different classifications of child participation (Hart, 1992, and Franklin, 1995), we opted for the consultation, inviting the students to review and discuss the different living environments (community, family and school). We argue that children should not be mere spectators or passive users in a project developed from the outside. Their views must be taken into account since the very beginning. Specifically in this study we approach the issue of inclusive education from the students’ perspective.
APUD A. (2001). Participación infantil. Colección Enrédate con UNICEF, Formación de profesorado. UNICEF/Comité País Vasco. DOUGLAS, H. (2002 ) Talking about pictures: a case for photo elicitation, Visual Studies, 7 (1), 13-26. FIELDING, M. Y MOSS, P. (2011) Radical education and the common school: a democratic alternative. London: Routledge FRANKLIN, B. (1995). Levels of participation. En J. Boyden y J. Ennew (Eds.). Children in focus: a manual for participatory research with children. Estocolmo: Grafisk Press. HART, R. (2001). La participación de los niños en el desarrollo sostenible. Barcelona: PAU Education. HORD, P. (1997) Professional learning communities: Communities on continuos inquiry and improvement. Austin, TX: Southwest Ed. Development Laboratory KRUEGER, R. A. (1991). El grupo de discusión: guía práctica para la investigación aplicada. Madrid: Pirámide. LEWIS, V. ET AL. (2004). The reality of research with children and young people. Londres: Sage. MEPSYD (2008). Experiencias de participación social efectiva de niños, niñas y adolescentes. Madrid: SGT. MESSIOU, K. (2008) Encouraging children to think in more inclusive ways. British Journal of Special Education, 35, 1, 26-32 PARRILLA, A. (2008). Análisis de los procesos de inclusión/exclusión educativa en la educación obligatoria. Desarrollo de proyectos locales de cambio y mejora escolar. Convocatoria Nacional I+D+i 2008-11. Ref: EDU2008-06511-C02-01/EDUC. PIJL, SJ, MEIJER, C. AND HEGARTY, S. (EDS) (1997) Inclusive Education: a global agenda. London: Routledge. PINK, S. (2007) Doing Visual Ethnography. London: Sage. ROBINSON, C. AND TAYLOR, C. (2007). Theorizing student voice: values and perspectives. Improving schools, 10(1), 5-17. SUSINOS, T. (2009) Escuchar para compartir. Reconociendo la autoridad del alumnado en el proyecto de una escuela inclusiva. Revista de Educación, 349, 119-136 SUSINOS, T. Y HOYOS, C. (2011) La educación inclusiva hoy. Reconocer al otro y crear comunidad a través del diálogo y la participación. Revista Interuniversitaria de formación del profesorado, 25, 1, 15-30 STEWART, D.W. AND SHAMDASANI P.N. (1992). Focus groups: theory and practice. London: Sage.
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