14 SES 13, Children as Members of a Community: Citizenship, Participation and Educational Development - Part II: The Community of Children: Oppositional and Harmonical Narratives
Issues of dynamics of power are infrequently considered by researchers seeking to elicit the perspective of children (Barker & Weller, 2003; Nelson & Quintana, 2005; Sargeant & Harcourt, 2012; Sime, 2008) yet represent an important element in the process. Children’s responses and reactions to assertions of power by adults during research activities have implications for how children engage with and participate in research processes. Effects of existing power relationships in the school community on children’s participation in research endeavours is examined in this paper. During a series of research activities, a range of verbal and non-verbal interactions between adult and child members of the school community were observed. While the children appeared to participate comfortably prior to each adults’ assertion of power, there was a noticeable change in the children’s demeanour and willingness to communicate after each interaction with an adult. This paper draws upon children’s commentary and actions when adults intervened to assert a level of power during research activities within school settings. The management of non-participant adults and their affect on children’s behaviour during the research process represents a critical consideration for researchers seeking to afford children a forum to freely express their perspective within the school environment.
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