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The Significance of Students: Can Increasing "Student Voice" in Schools Lead to Gains in Youth Development?

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Abstract

The notion of "student voice," or a student role in the decision making and change efforts of schools, has emerged in the new millennium as a potential strategy for improving the success of school reform efforts. Yet few studies have examined this construct either theoretically or empirically. Grounded in a sociocultural perspective, this article provides some of the first empirical data on youth participation in student voice efforts by identifying how student voice opportunities appear to contribute to "youth development" outcomes in young people. The article finds that student voice activities can create meaningful experiences for youth that help to meet fundamental developmental needs-especially for students who otherwise do not find meaning in their school experiences. Specifically, this research finds a marked consistency in the growth of agency, belonging and competence-three assets that are central to youth development. While these outcomes were consistent across the students in this study, the data demonstrate how the structure of student voice efforts and nature of adult/student relations fundamentally influence the forms of youth development outcomes that emerge.

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... This study stemmed from a dearth of studies that focused on international students' positive experiences and by the call of scholars (e.g., Ammigan, 2019;Burel et al., 2019;Klodt, 2019) who argue that institutions could support learners better if they asked students what they needed to enhance their learning experience. According to the literature, identifying and using the voices of learners represent a crucial step in expanding and meeting the support needs of students (Bergmark & Kostenius, 2018;Gao, 2019;Klodt, 2019;Mitra, 2004). The literature corresponding to AI and international students indicates that one of the best ways to foster positive change is to actively seek and include the ideas, suggestions, and voices of those whose interest it is that policies are formulated to serve (Ammigan & Jones, 2018;Bergmark & Kostenius, 2018;Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005;Klodt, 2019). ...
... Research indicates that when students feel a sense of belonging in the social context of the institution, they do well (Bergmark & Kostenius, 2009, 2018Burel et al., 2019;Cook-Sather, 2006;Chen & Zhou, 2019;Mitra, 2004). Therefore, I argue that it may be beneficial for universities that receive international students to seek the positive experiences, dreams, and expectations of this student demographic from the outset. ...
... (p. 58) Chen and Zhou's argument adds to the call for research that advocates including students' voices in decisions that ultimately affect students (Bergmark & Kostenius, 2009, 2018Burel et al., 2019;Klodt, 2019;Mitra, 2004). As experienced students in master's programs, surely, international students know what they need to enjoy their schooling experience away from home, and Chen and Zhou's study highlights the crucial role the feeling of a sense of belonging has on the psyche of international students. ...
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This study used appreciative inquiry (AI) as a methodological and theoretical framework and positive psychology theory to investigate international master’s students’ positive experiences, dreams, and expectations in their programs and institution to inform policies, programs, and practices. Although the literature describes international students’ mixed experiences in Canada, including developing critical thinking skills, making friends with other nationals, culture shock, and financial challenges, previous studies seldom focus on life-affirming conditions that enrich and improve such students’ schooling experiences. The first three stages of AI’s 4-D cycle—discovery, dream, and design—informed the study’s data collection methods (14 semi-structured individual interviews and three focus group discussions) to generate strength-based data for analysis, resulting in five key themes: (a) personal well-being and sense of belonging, (b) instructors’ pedagogical practices, (c) financial constraints and employment opportunities, (d) career development, and (e) policies. Based on its findings, the study makes six recommendations to inform international graduate student policy and practice: (a) allow international master’s students to study with their domestic counterparts, (b) increase international student diversity, (c) regularize socializing events for students and community members, (d) bridge the gap between theory and practice (hands-on experience), (e) work with all stakeholders to make international master’s students’ tuition fees more affordable, and (f) create on- and off-campus employment opportunities. Participants’ first-person accounts emphasize the need to include student voices in their own education and also shift the conversation from a deficit lens to a more positive discourse to balance the narratives around international students’ experiences.
... Over the past two decades, student participation has received growing attention in the research literature. It has also been increasingly applied in various forms and practices, such as formal structures of student councils (e.g., Cross et al., 2014;Kaba, 2000Kaba, -2001Mayes et al., 2019;Wyness, 2009), bottom-up groups of youth-adult partnerships within schools (e.g., Mitra, 2004Mitra, , 2007Mitra & Serriere, 2012;Mitra et al., 2013), and initiatives of student participation in school evaluation processes (Bourke & MacDonald, 2018;Leitch et al., 2007). The emerging literature on student participation highlights the importance of promoting such participation, in light of its multifaceted benefits relating to children's citizenship education (Fielding, 2007;Sinclair, 2004), development (Jiang et al., 2014;Mitra, 2004;Mitra & Serriere, 2012), and the fulfilment of their rights (Lundy, 2007;Perry-Hazan, 2015), as well as to various organisational outcomes (e.g., Mitra & Gross, 2009;Wallace et al., 2016). ...
... It has also been increasingly applied in various forms and practices, such as formal structures of student councils (e.g., Cross et al., 2014;Kaba, 2000Kaba, -2001Mayes et al., 2019;Wyness, 2009), bottom-up groups of youth-adult partnerships within schools (e.g., Mitra, 2004Mitra, , 2007Mitra & Serriere, 2012;Mitra et al., 2013), and initiatives of student participation in school evaluation processes (Bourke & MacDonald, 2018;Leitch et al., 2007). The emerging literature on student participation highlights the importance of promoting such participation, in light of its multifaceted benefits relating to children's citizenship education (Fielding, 2007;Sinclair, 2004), development (Jiang et al., 2014;Mitra, 2004;Mitra & Serriere, 2012), and the fulfilment of their rights (Lundy, 2007;Perry-Hazan, 2015), as well as to various organisational outcomes (e.g., Mitra & Gross, 2009;Wallace et al., 2016). ...
... Empirical research on the impact of student participation has focused on specific case studies that measured students' personal outcomes (e.g., Mitra, 2004). Large-scale quantitative studies that include school outcomes and apply valid and reliable measures are lacking (see Mager & Nowak, 2012;Mitra, 2018). ...
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The study of student participation in decision making has been characterised by conceptual vagueness and an absence of empirical tools to compare participatory practices in various contexts and to determine when they achieve their goals. This study presents an integrative theoretical model grounded in the organisational literature on participative decision making (PDM) – particularly on teacher participative decision making – as well as in the children’s participation literature. The model focuses on decisions having collective implications made by a group of students or a group of students and adults. It views student participative decision making as a multidimensional structure that emerges within a context. Specifically, the model suggests that the rationales behind promoting student participative decision making (pragmatic, moral, or developmental/pedagogical) will determine its dimensions, which, in turn, will affect student, teacher and school outcomes. It posits that the school organisational culture will shape the patterns of these relationships. The model answers repeated calls in the children’s participation literature for frameworks that are more attentive to diverse cultural environments. It provides an empirical foundation for comparative studies to explore how student participative decision making is interpreted, perceived and implemented in different organisational cultures.
... While research shows strong associations between youth voice and positive youth development, scholars have also noted important barriers to young people's practice of voice. Fear of adults, lack of prior experience, adult assumptions about youth abilities, role uncertainties and adult-dominated power and control of program settings can hinder young people's ability to meaningfully participate in decision-making and thus benefit developmentally from their participation in programs (Mitra, 2004;Camino, 2005;Tarifa et al., 2009). ...
... Strobel et al. (2008) and Whitlock (2007) showed that safety and trust are not only products of active care and concern by adults, but also result when youth have high perceived levels of efficacy in making important choices about their programs. When youth feel that their views and opinions are respected by adults, youth are more inclined to feel that they belong (Mitra, 2004). ...
... The extant literature points to the potential buffering effect of hardiness on barriers to exercising voice in program settings. Previous studies conducted mostly in Western countries cite lack of respect by adults, youth fear of adults, inadequate training, lack of prior involvement in programs, and adult-dominated power and control of programs as common barriers to voice (Mitra, 2004;Fox et al., 2008;Collins et al., 2016). These challenges can be even more pronounced in high power-distance cultures. ...
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Growth mindset and grit have attracted much attention in educational research recently. Yet the underlying mechanisms that relate these variables to each other as well as to other variables remain largely unclear. This study investigates the relationships among growth mindset, learning motivations, and grit. We recruited a total of 1,842 students (884 males and 958 females) from third to ninth grade in a Chinese city. Results from the structural equation model analyzing the students' responses showed that learning motivations partially mediate the relationship between growth mindset and grit. Specifically, intrinsic motivation and identified regulation of extrinsic motivation are positively associated with growth mindset and grit, while external regulation of extrinsic motivation is negatively associated with them. Additionally, introjected regulation of extrinsic motivation is uncorrelated with these two variables. This study furthers the understanding of the underlying mechanisms through which growth mindset and grit positively impact education.
... Ironically, however, students rarely have the opportunity to share their perceptions of potential or existing impediments to learning such as disengagement and lack of motivation (Levin, 2000). Notwithstanding the efforts of the researchers who argue for the importance of including students' perspectives about their own learning needs (Cook-Sather, 2002Mitra, 2004;Rodgers, 2006;Rudduck & Flutter, 2004), they are rarely asked to share their experiences and perspectives on their learning. In other words, while educators agree that schools exist for students, their education is usually based on direction from teachers and administrators (Levin, 2000). ...
... In other words, while educators agree that schools exist for students, their education is usually based on direction from teachers and administrators (Levin, 2000). Despite many schools struggle with improving students' academic outcomes, very few institutions seek or value students' experience and opinion (Mitra, 2004). ...
... The researchers and scholars who are committed to students' input in their learning point to the empirical evidence confirming the presence of a positive correlation between an increased prominence of student voice in the school culture and improved student outcomes (Corbett & Wilson, 1995;Mitra, 2004). Some researchers go as far as to argue that educational reform cannot succeed without more direct involvement of students in all aspects of their schooling because "teachers are not the producers of learning; in the end it is students who must do the learning" (Levin, 2000, p. 163). ...
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Using narrative inquiry, small story approach, and collaborative relations of power as a conceptual framework, this study explores English language learning students’ perspectives on what makes learning difficult for them and what diminishes their motivation from learning. The findings from the study show a significant gap from a larger study that investigated the teachers’ perspectives on English language learning students’ academic challenges. The paper highlights the importance of educators to attend to English language learning students’ input on their learning in school success. The conceptual framework is intended to be dialogical which aims to work against most often invisible but inequitable educational and social structures in place.
... Most SVSH programs and policies are designed and carried out by higher education administrators or contracted external organizations; student input is rarely incorporated or is excluded altogether (Lac & Cumings Mansfield, 2018). Utilizing "student voice," defined as students' roles in decision-making and change-efforts in schools, is a growing strategy for successful school improvement efforts (Mitra, 2004). While research is limited in university settings, incorporating student voice into decisionmaking and evaluation processes within institutions of secondary education (i.e., high school) has led to significant improvements in school climate and academic quality, including revised curriculum and evaluation processes (Mitra, 2008) and increased student agency and belonging (Fielding, 2001;Mitra, 2004). ...
... Utilizing "student voice," defined as students' roles in decision-making and change-efforts in schools, is a growing strategy for successful school improvement efforts (Mitra, 2004). While research is limited in university settings, incorporating student voice into decisionmaking and evaluation processes within institutions of secondary education (i.e., high school) has led to significant improvements in school climate and academic quality, including revised curriculum and evaluation processes (Mitra, 2008) and increased student agency and belonging (Fielding, 2001;Mitra, 2004). This approach has been coined the "students as researchers" approach (Atweh et al., 1998;Fielding, 2001;Lincoln, 1995). ...
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Campus-based sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH) are prevalent issues that impact students detrimentally. Guided by community-based participatory research, this qualitative study assessed undergraduate students’ perceptions of available campus SVSH resources, gaps in services, and recommendations for solutions for SVSH at three universities in California via interviews and focus groups. Approximately half of participants were unaware of available SVSH services, while others had varying knowledge of service availability and experiences with services. Students want better-funded, trauma-informed, and survivor-centered services and providers who share their identities and lived experiences. We provide multi-level student-centered solutions to improve current campus-based SVSH prevention efforts.
... Mager & Nowak (2012) also explain that, one-off consultations and simple forms of student participation such as answering questions and taking part in activities are not considered participation in the context of decision-making. Mitra (2004Mitra ( , 2005 provides some of the first empirical data on student youth participation in student voice efforts by identifying how they contribute to ''youth development'' outcomes. Mitra (2004Mitra ( , 2005 found that efforts to increase student voice can create meaningful experiences that help to meet the developmental needs of youth, particularly for those students who otherwise would not find meaning in their school experiences. ...
... Mitra (2004Mitra ( , 2005 provides some of the first empirical data on student youth participation in student voice efforts by identifying how they contribute to ''youth development'' outcomes. Mitra (2004Mitra ( , 2005 found that efforts to increase student voice can create meaningful experiences that help to meet the developmental needs of youth, particularly for those students who otherwise would not find meaning in their school experiences. Further, that participating in groups instills agency in students and makes them belief that they could transform themselves and the institutions that affect them, enable them to acquire skills and competencies to work toward these changes. ...
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The idea of ''student voice'' in decision making and change efforts of schools, has emerged as a potential strategy for improving learners' outcomes. It is expected in its participatory curriculum implementation of secondary school agriculture programme could transfer scientific knowledge through classroom teaching thus attain its academic objective, Also, impart vocational skills in student youth through demonstration of best practices and implementation of agricultural projects in the school farm. However, past studies show that youth that have gone through school agriculture curriculum are inadequately equipped with vocational agricultural skills necessary for self-reliance hence the need for improvement. The objective of this study is to determine the influence of participation of student youth in decision making on implementation of school agriculture programme and to suggest measures to improve its impact on the vocational objective. Student youth are school form fours studying agriculture subject and implementing projects for the Kenya certificate of secondary school examination (KCSE) 2019 which is a national test. Student youth were selected from three categories of schools offering agriculture subject, spread in five typical of Kenyan farm types found in Kisii and Nyamira counties region, Kenya. Cross-sectional survey design was used. Proportionate, stratified, purposive, and simple random sampling procedures were used to select a sample of 361 student youth as respondents for the study. Data was collected using questionnaires, analyzed by descriptive and inferential statistics at significance level of 0.05 using SPSS version 21. Results show that student youth rate their level of participation in decision making on implementation of school agriculture programme at a mean score of 6 out of 10 indicating that there is still room for improvement on the same. Student youth rated as very important the five strategies proposed to enhance their engagement in decision making on implementation of school agriculture programme with some plans being ranked more significantly very important. There is a strong positive correlation between level of participation in decision making and level of implementation of the agriculture programme. The high rating of strategies proposed indicates the need to address the pertinent issues in them to enhance quality of participation of student youth in decision making on implementation of the programmes. The strategies ranked as more significantly very important are 5, 4 and 2. These findings will be useful to improve transfer of knowledge, skills and thus attain the vocational objective. Also to enhance learning and developmental outcomes in young people for self-reliance.
... One notable exception is the extensive research that has been carried out on a group of state-funded schools known as the 'Citizen Schools' in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which can be considered at least partially democratic and which are explicitly oriented around social justice goals (e.g. Gandin and Apple, 2002, 2004. However, analysis of these schools tends to focus on the localised challenges or efficacy of their practice, or on implications for concepts connected to social justice -such as teacher education or democracy -rather than being explicitly linked to social justice theorising more broadly. ...
... 2 There is a much more extensive body of literature exploring mainstream schools that have sought to bolster forms of 'student voice' (e.g. Mitra, 2003Mitra, , 2004SooHoo, 1993), including some which explicitly engages with social justice issues -for instance, by exploring the significance of forms of democratic participation for marginalised groups (e.g. McCowan, 2010;McMahon et al., 2012). ...
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Using data from a case-study school as a springboard, this article explores how enactments of democratic education might both problematise and illuminate new possibilities for the way we conceptualise social justice in education. Nancy Fraser’s tripartite framework of social justice is used to analyse in-depth interviews with students aged 14–16 from a democratic school in the United Kingdom. The article makes two key arguments: first, it highlights the interdependence of ‘recognition’ and ‘representation’ and, consequently, calls on mainstream policy and practice to make a substantive commitment to participatory democracy as part of the ‘inclusive education’ agenda. Second, it points to the tensions between ‘redistributive’ justice and other social justice aims which may be particularly stark in democratic education (and other progressive education) spaces. The article suggests that a strengthened relationship between democratic schools and research communities would offer a crucial contribution to collective critical reflection on social justice in education.
... The construct of student voice is understood to involve students as active participants in decisions that impact their educational experience (Mitra, 2004). To this effect, student voice involves listening and responding to students (Fielding, 1999). ...
... We acknowledge that listening to students in primary physical education was "new to the scene" in the 1990s, making a valuable contribution to the field and a first step in engaging primary students to share their experiences and provide their voice. Yet, there remains an obvious gap in the literature, which seeks to both capture authentic student voice and use what the children tell us to directly inform curriculum and/or pedagogy and, thus, meaningfully involve students as active participants in the decision-making processes of those facilitating their physical education experience (Mitra, 2004). ...
Article
The past decade has seen an increased focus on student voice in physical education; yet, the majority reflects the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of agency of secondary-level students. It has been suggested that the perspectives and experiences of students in primary physical education remain largely absent from the literature. Therefore, the purpose of this review was to answer the question “what peer-reviewed data on student voice in primary physical education was published between January 1990 and March 2020?” This article provides a map of 89 articles that accessed student voice in primary physical education. Conclusions highlight a need for democratic possibilities for primary students to engage and contribute to their physical education learning experiences as well as a continued exploration of the implementation and impact of authentic methods of accessing and responding to student voice in primary physical education.
... A complementary practice is the emerging inclusion of "student voice" in the leadership and governance of schools to foster a positive school culture and climate (e.g., D. L. Mitra, 2004;D. Mitra et al., 2014). ...
... Activities-both academic and non-academic-prioritize healthy development, particularly of youths' social-emotional learning, identity development, and leadership qualities (D. L. Mitra, 2004;D. Mitra et al., 2014). ...
Article
In the United States, advances in information technology and globalization present new social and political terrain for citizens to navigate. Preparing well-rounded young adults who are ready to meet the demands of citizenship in the 21st century—thinking critically, communicating, collaborating, and creating—is an imperative function of education. Findings from this multiple case study of “positive outlier” schools, or those with better-than-expected graduation outcomes among youth with historically disparate rates, utilize practices that incorporate Positive Youth Development (PYD) and Deeper Learning (DL) strategies. PYD and DL facilitate students’ development of skills, abilities, and dispositions that define 21st century citizenship. Though the schools in this study were selected for their better college and career preparation as measured by graduation outcomes, educators in positive outlier schools, in contrast to typically performing schools, emphasized student preparation for citizenship along with college and career preparation. The unique features of positive outlier schools include: commitment to pluralism, ethic of shared sacrifice and responsibility, community-directed critical thinking, and democratic school governance. For these schools, the college, career, and civic readiness replaced the exclusive college and career readiness paradigm.
... This is especially acute for youth of color and/or from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in urban settings, often referred to as "disadvantaged" youth. OST programs for these youth are often framed in terms of fulfilling needs for skill development, forming positive relationships, and accessing constructive ways to use their time as opposed to being framed in terms of fulfilling the needs of youth to use their skills and voices and contribute to their communities (Kirshner & Ginwright, 2012;Mitra, 2004). Advances in asset-based approaches to youth development theory and programming, rather than deficit-based approaches, (e.g. ...
... The participants in this study seemed to pick up on this in noting the specific skills they learned and also describing, in a more psychological sense, realizing the power of their own voices. This power is documented in the developmental psychology literature as centrally important during adolescence, especially for youth from marginalized backgrounds who face a lack of opportunity to have their voices heard (Mitra, 2004;Kirshner & Ginwright, 2012). Although it is subtle, it seems that A2's focus on "changing the world" by providing opportunities for youth (rather than focusing on youth development per se) contributed to fulfilling the A2 teens authors' developmental needs for autonomy, respect, and contributing to others (Fuligni, 2019;Yeager et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Authoring Action (A2) is a youth-focused, arts-based, afterschool and summer program. A2’s mission is “to transform the lives of youth and the world through the power of creative writing, spoken word, visual and media arts, film-making and leadership education that promotes positive systemic change.” Using in-depth interviews, this study aimed to understand how this arts-based program affects youth development. Participants in this study (N=36) were alums of Authoring Action (A2), interviewed when they were between the ages of 17-32. Over half identified as female (N=21). Most A2 participants were youth of color and participated in A2 between ages 13-17. Interview data were coded following several steps: generating initial codes, searching for themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes, and generating a report. Four themes describe the impacts of A2 for program participants: communication, cathartic and transformative experiences, connection, and critical consciousness. Programmatic features—getting paid to participate, shared group identity, and open access to program leaders and peers – were meaningful to youth participants. The mission and programmatic features of A2 support youth development; we discuss practices that may benefit other arts-based youth programs and the implications of such practices for youth development.
... Student leadership too often takes a limited form, such as planning dances or occupying symbolic roles, particularly in schools serving low-income students (Kahne & Middaugh, 2009;McFarland & Starmanns, 2009). We define robust student leadership, on the other hand, in terms of opportunities for "student voice"-in which students give input about the quality of their schools and participate in decisionmaking settings where reform decisions are made (Mitra, 2004;Rubin & Silva, 2003). Promotion of student voice rests on a view of youth as capable public actors rather than clients of school-based services (Checkoway & Richards-Schuster, 2006). ...
... Research on human development suggests, however, that the most effective response to youth's novice status is to provide authentic opportunities to participate, rather than maintain their segregation from adult institutions (Larson, 2000;Rogoff, 2003). Student voice experiences, in other words, offer opportunities for civic development, such as political agency, teamwork, and public speaking (Mitra, 2004;Rubin & Jones, 2007). ...
Article
Background/Context School closure is becoming an increasingly common policy response to underperforming urban schools. Districts typically justify closure decisions by pointing to schools’ low performance on measures required by No Child Left Behind. Closures disproportionately fall on schools with high percentages of poor and working-class students of color. Few studies have examined how students interpret or respond to school closures. Purpose Our purpose was to document narratives articulated by students about the closure of their high school. Doing so is important because students, particularly students of color from low-income families, are often left out of policy decisions that affect their lives. Population/Participants Research participants were recruited from the population of youth who had attended the closed school and who remained in the district during the subsequent year. Twenty-three percent of students at the school were African American, 75% were Latino, and 2% were White. Over 90% of students were eligible for free and reduced lunch. A total of 106 students responded to surveys and peer interviews, and 12 youth who had dropped out of school participated in focus groups. Research Design This was a youth participatory action research (YPAR) study, designed collaboratively by former Jefferson students, university researchers, and adult community members. Data sources included open-ended surveys, peer interviews, focus groups, and field notes describing public events and YPAR meetings. Findings Our data show that most respondents did not agree with the decision to close their school. Student disagreement surfaced two counternarratives. First, students critiqued the way the decision was made—they felt excluded from the decision-making process that led to closure. Second, they critiqued the rationale for the decision, which suggested that students needed to be rescued from a failing school. Students articulated features of Jefferson that they valued, such as trusting relationships with adults, connection to place, and sense of belonging, which they felt were discounted by the decision. Conclusions/Recommendations Evidence from this study lends support to developmental and political justifications for robust youth participation in equity-based school reform. By developmental justification, we mean evidence that young people were ready to participate, which counters discourses about youth as immature or unprepared. By political justification, we mean evidence that youth articulated interests that were discounted in the decision-making process and that challenged normative assumptions about school quality. In our conclusion, we point to examples of expanded roles that students could play in decision-making processes.
... In addition to providing peer groups on mental health issues, including the perspective of young adults in the decision-making process for design of new programs and policies can be an effective use of advocacy on campus. While not yet tested on a college campus, incorporating youth voice has been shown to improve student outcomes and the success of school reform in secondary education settings (Mitra, 2004). When the conditions are in place, involving youth in decision-making is a powerful strategy for positive change (Zeldin, McDaniel, Topitzes & Calvert, 2000). ...
Article
In 2013, the Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood Rehabilitation Research & Training Center, UMass Chan Medical School, successfully conducted a state of the science conference, “Tools for System Transformation for Young Adults with Psychiatric Disabilities.” The conference was held at Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health on September 24-25th, 2013. We had two goals for this conference. Our first goal was to share and discuss the current state of research knowledge regarding practice and policy supports for strong educational and employment outcomes in young adults (ages 18-30) with psychiatric disabilities. Our second goal was to engage all attendees in prioritizing the knowledge that future research should address, to guide these systems’ efforts, to better launch and support these young adults’ long-term careers. The proceedings herein include all conference papers and responses as well as final considerations for the future research directions in education, employment and policy and practice. For more information, please visit our website.
... We define student voice groups as "a strategy that engages youth in sharing their views on their experiences as students in order to promote meaningful change in educational practice or policy" (Conner et al., 2015, p. 3). Student voice efforts assist students with developing what Mitra (2004) has called the "ABCs of youth development": • • agency, or "exerting influence and power in a given situation," • • belonging, or "developing meaningful relationships with other students and adults and having a meaningful role at the school," and • • competence, or "developing new abilities and being appreciated for one's talents" (p. 655). ...
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Background/Context Increasingly, K–12 students are seeking to influence educational policies that directly affect their lives. As student intervention in policy increases, it is important to understand the composition of these groups and how they seek to exercise power and influence over policymakers. Purpose This study sought to examine how two state-level student voice groups for policy change sought equitable representation in their composition. As student voice groups expand beyond school, city, or district level groups to focus on state- and national-level advocacy, the character of their composition takes on additional importance as they claim to speak on behalf of larger numbers of students. Setting This study draws on interview, document analysis, and observation data from two student voice groups working to influence state-level legislative action on K–12 educational policy. Research Design: We combine secondary data analysis of data from state-level student voice groups with elements of duoethnography to explore how participants thought about, strived for, and fell short of equitable intra- group representation. Findings We found that the members of both groups were personally committed to equity both in terms of group composition and advocacy. Additionally, group members had structures and policies—such as remote access and low barriers to entry—that encourage equitable representation. Participants reported a relational climate of inclusion. Despite these assets, outcomes were mixed: the groups successfully achieved racial and ethnic proportionality with the state, but remained predominantly urban and able- bodied in their composition. Conclusion Despite the groups’ best efforts, group members’ challenges with distributed recruitment and emphasis on certain skills such as public speaking limited equitable outcomes in representation. This research makes clear that who is involved in the group at the outset and their network will shape representation. It also indicates that although technology can lower barriers to entry, it is not a panacea. Finally, this research reinforces the notion that students engage in self-policing of the group in order to gain greater legitimacy in the eyes of policymakers.
... All in all, participation in the context of well-being highlighted the link between the two fields (wellbeing/health and participation) and their impact on each other. The papers shared an understanding of participation as having a say and communicating views, and emphasized the importance of students being heard and taken seriously or recognized, according to concepts of student voice (Cook-Sather, 2006;Mitra, 2004), recognition theory (Honneth, 1995), self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1993) or democratic education (Dewey, 1916). ...
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In current scientific literature a wide variety of definitions and terms are used to describe student participation and student voice. In particular, this article examines how the terms participation, student voice, and their synonyms are used in the current literature to provide a structured overview of how these terms are being used. A systematic literature review led to 325 articles. From this number we selected 126 articles according to the criteria of topic (student participation in school), age group (primary and secondary school) and language (English or German). The results showed that student participation was discussed across five contexts: democratic education, children’s rights, well-being, learning and school practice. After comparing similarities and differences between the five contexts, three characteristics which characterize student participation became apparent: considering others, power dynamics between students and teachers, and change that is inherently connected to participation. These five contexts and three characteristics of student participation serve as a possible structure for the discussion surrounding the varied terms and concepts used regarding student participation.
... Οι διαφορετικές μορφές της ηγεσίας των ενηλίκων μπορεί να φέρουν διαφορετικά αποτελέσματα στην ανάπτυξη της μαθητικής φωνής (Mitra, 2004). H επιρροή του τρόπου οργάνωσης και διοίκησης του σχολείου συνδέεται με διαφορετικού τύπου πολιτικές συμπεριφορές των μαθητών (Ehman, 1980). ...
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Η εκπαίδευση για τη δημοκρατία παραμένει πάντα ένα επίκαιρο θέμα. Το σχολείο οφείλει να παρέχει ένα πλαίσιο ώστε οι μαθητές να διαπαιδαγωγούνται με την ανάπτυξη πολιτικών δεξιοτήτων για να ενταχθούν σε μία ελεύθερη πολιτεία. Ο παιδαγωγικός θεσμός των μαθητικών συμβουλίων λειτουργεί προς εκπλήρωση του παραπάνω σκοπού. Η παρούσα έρευνα θέλησε να διερευνήσει τις απόψεις των μαθητών, ως μέλη της σχολικής κοινότητας που πρωταγωνιστούν στη λειτουργία του θεσμού, για τον ρόλο της σχολικής ηγεσίας. Μελετήθηκε ο ρόλος του εκπαιδευτικού και του διευθυντή εξαιτίας της σχολικής ηγεσίας που δύναται να ασκήσουν, στη λειτουργία του 15μελούς μαθητικού συμβουλίου. Η ερευνητική μέθοδος που επιλέχθηκε ήταν ο συνδυασμός ποσοτικής και ποιοτικής με εργαλεία έρευνας το ερωτηματολόγιο και τη συνέντευξη. Τα ευρήματα της έρευνας έδειξαν πως εκπαιδευτικοί μπορούν να στηρίξουν τη λειτουργία του μαθητικού συμβουλίου κυρίως μέσω της προτροπής έκφρασης γνώμης των μελών του 15μελούς συμβουλίου στις συνεδριάσεις του σχολείου και ο διευθυντής μέσω της διάθεσης χώρου για τις συνεδριάσεις και πραγματοποίησης τακτικών συναντήσεων με το συμβούλιο. Επίσης το επικρατέστερο μοντέλο ηγεσίας που αξιολογούν οι μαθητές ότι μπορεί να στηρίξει το μαθητικό συμβούλιο, όσο αφορά την υιοθέτησή του από τον διευθυντή, είναι η διαπροσωπική ηγεσία. Τέλος από τα ευρήματα παρατηρήθηκε πολύ μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό συμμετοχής στα συμβούλια αγοριών έναντι κοριτσιών.
... The learning outcomes are fashioned by districts to ensure that students are prepared for their chosen postgraduation opportunities. To meaningfully enact these policy mandates, districts and individual high schools must actively engage youth voice and seek to empower young people to take ownership of their learning (Mitra, 2004). ...
Article
A number of states across the United States are seeking to implement school redesign efforts to support greater equity and to empower youth. Because these initiatives require teachers to implement strategies they typically have not experienced as learners, there is a need for models to prepare them to enact these innovations. Research has shown that service-learning can provide a view into educational experiences that are different from what teacher candidates experienced in their own schooling.
... The transformative aspect of voice-voice-as-right, voice-as-participation-has been noticeable within schools-based participatory research projects [39][40][41], with the term describing a range of activities, from the importance of problem sharing for students [42], pupils as researchers [43], pupils helping other students with their learning [44], approaches to assessment [45], to informing and supporting teachers' professional development [46]. Voice has been an especially influential concept within schools-based projects which address empowerment and equality [47]. ...
Article
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People with disabilities have been among the most marginalised groups both within society and within post-secondary/higher education. Over the last two decades, an increasing number of inclusive educational programmes have come into existence both nationally and internationally for this group of learners. The Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID), School of Education, Trinity College Dublin, offers students with intellectual disabilities a two-year programme entitled Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice (ASIAP). This paper presents a selection of voices from ASIAP students which highlights their experiences of becoming both co-researchers and second language learners. These studies present a variety of ways in which power relationships are negotiated between faculty and students through utilising creative and inclusive approaches to the research process.
... By "feeding the flames" and not imposing a curricular expectation, teacher-mentors used their privilege to open space for student voice and vision. They realized that students must be the decision-makers (Mitra, 2004). The other role of pedagogy was to present students with tools needed to negotiate the business world. ...
Chapter
This is the story of social transformation which happened through students’ development of a business for a higher purpose. As we will explain, the world of economics and business is at a watershed moment. The neoliberal premise that the profit motive ensures businesses act for the good of society has been revealed as so deeply flawed that it is instrumental in the creation of today’s social and environmental crises (Raworth, 2017). The Final Straw, founded by students, exemplifies a new type of business model, driven not by profit but by transformative aims. The supportive partnership of teacher-mentors was instrumental to achieving the students’ transformative vision in two ways. Adult teacher-mentors helped the students to focus on their passion and work in ways that were true to their values. They also ensured that the students had the knowledge and skills needed to operate their business and negotiate the business world.
... These steps require a learning environment that is inclusive, prioritizes open dialogue, has group-developed norms centered on respect, and mirrors a broader shift towards full inclusion in the group dynamic (Maine Environmental Changemakers Network, n. d.). Allowing youth to drive decision-making around civic engagement facilitates content mastery (Zeldin et al., 2013), develops agency, belonging, competence (Mitra, 2004;Zeldin, 2004), civic identity (Youniss et al., 1997), enhances community connections (Zeldin, 2004), strengthens emotional wellbeing (Zeldin et al., 2013), and can increase students' confidence (Dworkin et al., 2003). ...
Article
Youth can impact environmental attitudes and behaviors among adults. Indeed, research on intergenerational learning has demonstrated the influence of young people on adults in their lives for myriad environmental topics. Intergenerational learning (IGL) refers to the bidirectional transfer of knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors from children to their parents or other adults and vice versa. We suggest an educational framework wherein K-12 marine debris education designed to maximize IGL may be a strategy to accelerate interdisciplinary, community-level solutions to marine debris. Although technical strategies continue to be developed to address the marine debris crisis, even the most strictly technical of these benefit from social support. Here, we present 10 Best Practices grounded in educational, IGL, and youth civic engagement literature to promote marine debris solutions. We describe how integrating IGL and civic engagement into K-12-based marine debris curricula may start a virtuous circle benefiting teachers, students, families, communities, and the ocean
... Certainly, future work needs to take the perspectives of students seriously, as well as repositioning students as active agents who are part of shaping the community in meaningful ways (Mitra, 2004(Mitra, , 2009(Mitra, , 2018. Janhonen et al. (2016) have argued this is particularly essential in an adolescent-centered food and health education. ...
Article
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We explore student lunchtime experiences as they relate to student sense of belonging. We use SPSS Two‐Step cluster analysis and logistic regression of data from a schoolwide survey (n = 830) in the United States. Stepwise modeling is used to determine the importance of clusters representing lunchtime activity preferences and love of lunch on belonging scores. Loving lunch significantly positively affects school belonging. Students naturally group into five distinct different activity profiles based on lunchtime preferences. These profiles are significantly related to a sense of belonging. Being active with peers during lunch was most strongly correlated with sense of belonging. Lunchtime warrants more attention for fostering a sense of belonging in the school community. Broadening lunchtime activity options, especially in schools where there are few available ways for socializing and being active, has the potential to support the diverse needs of students and increase belonging.
... 17 For more information, see Mitra, 2004;Fielding, 2004;Seale, 2009;Lehtomäki et al., 2016;and Kim, 2020. HEIs -besides their function as producers of new knowledge, teaching and community engagement -also play an important and relevant role in engaging with society to achieve the 17 SDGs. ...
Book
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Universities and, more broadly, higher education institutions (HEIs), need to use the knowledge they produce and their education of new professionals, to help solve some of the world´s greatest problems, as addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations (UN). Humanity is facing unprecedented challenges, most strikingly so in relation to climate change and loss of nature and biodiversity, as well as inequality, health, the economy, and a suite of issues related to the 2030 Agenda. Given this new reality in which the future of humans, along with other species, is at stake, it is time for HEIs and their stakeholders to systematically rethink their role in society and their key missions, and reflect on how they can serve as catalysts for a rapid, urgently needed and fair transition towards sustainability. The complexity of the issues at stake means that solutions should be part of a radical agenda that calls for new alliances and new incentives. It is also time for HEIs to make sustainability and SDG literacy core requisites for all faculty members and students. Sustainability education should bring students into contact with real-world problems and immersive experiences. Appreciating the greater good of both people and planet, and contributing to values beyond mere monetary gain will further enthuse and inspire students and faculty mentors alike. Ultimately, the educational culture at universities and HEIs needs to encourage students to learn via experimentation and critical thinking from multiple perspectives. This report is undoubtedly about the SDGs; however, it is important to realize that these will expire in 2030. We thus strongly recommend that HEIs, while being a part of that agenda, should also look ahead – not only to implementing the SDGs, but also to being intensively involved in crafting the next steps and goals beyond 2030. A long-term perspective needs to be adopted for both HEI activities and policies. The call this report makes is for universities and HEIs to play an active part in an agenda that has the consensus of 193 countries and aims to resolve some of the world’s most pressing problems, as stated in the 17 SDGs. The challenge is for HEIs to embrace the 2030 Agenda, because if they do not it will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the SDGs. The SDGs represent a unifying challenge for all universities and HEIs, and this must be reflected in plans and actions for research, education and outreach. HEIs have played a crucial role as bringers of societal enlightenment and change over the centuries, maintaining their role as free and critical institutions while also – to varying degrees – aiming to perform a service within societies. It is essential to maintain and encourage these important roles and enable HEIs to combine their traditions of critical thinking with problem-solving activities, while also adjusting their role in the light of societal changes. The future of humanity and our planet is under threat, and the need for critical thinking and societal change is therefore more pressing than ever. HEIs should inspire societal change when necessary, taking a leading role in the transitions necessary for humankind and emphasizing that the need for change is immediate. This also implies that HEIs should think critically about their own practices, curricula and research, and about how to motivate their employees, students and society at large to do the same.
... Students designed and carried out activism events as part of a year-long marine debris curriculum. Grounded in pedagogical strategies designed to maximize students' competence (Mitra, 2004;Zeldin, 2004), self-confidence, and agency (Bandura, 1989), the curriculum included background information on marine debris, hands-on explorations of marine debris impacts, and civic engagement activities such as creating either video PSAs or conducting in-person community events 2 . One in-person presentation to a Board of Commissioners in Fuquay-Varina, NC (February 2020) occurred before response to the COVID-19 pandemic forced the students to focus on PSAs. ...
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This perspective article is divided between the account of an emerging youth political activist, Katelyn Higgins, and the subsequent collaborative research project she coordinated. After 10 years of experience in youth political action, Higgins worked with co-authors to develop a qualitative study to explore the processes underlying youth influence over local environmental policymaking. We present findings from that study to supplement her perspective. The study supported fourth and fifth grade teachers by offering a marine debris curriculum which encouraged students to share their knowledge with local community members through environmental activism events. At the first event, students aged 8–10 presented at a town hall meeting; we interviewed 16 adults in attendance. The second “event” was a series of video PSAs (Public Service Announcements) in which students from across the state of North Carolina, United States, explained the harms of marine debris. Those PSAs were emailed to local officials; we conducted follow-up interviews with two officials. Four themes emerged to characterize how adults responded to youth environmental activism: young people were inspiring; adults want to support young people; and adults view young people as able to provide leadership for local action and challenge the establishment. Youth leaders and those looking to support them should be encouraged by these results, as they suggest adults, including local public officials, consider youth voices valuable and uniquely situated to foster productive political processes for addressing marine debris. Future research should continue to explore the degree to which positive feelings expressed by adults translate to action.
... In other words, including students in school decisions may enhance students' intent to communicate to school authorities the occurring surroundings' issues. In the Nineties, students' participation in school decisions was rarely considered (Mitra, 2004). Adults were not prone to involve students in institutions' governance (Noddings, 1992;Poplin & Weeres, 1992). ...
Article
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In the last decades, research focused on the surroundings' influence over schools, but only a few studies investigated whether the presence of a school may increase its surroundings' safety. Still, the characteristics of the school which could ameliorate the surroundings' safety are still unclear. The current study hypothesizes that: i. a higher number of communication strategies in the school may increase the school surroundings' safety; ii. the students' participation in school decisions and the frequency of anti-bullying programs may strengthen the effect of communication over surroundings' safety. The sample includes data of 62 school principals from the Northern Italian region of Lombardy who answered self-report questions from Health Behaviors in School-Aged Children (2014) protocol. Findings from moderation analysis show that a higher number of communication __________________________________________________________________ 8 strategies within the school fosters the perception of safer school surroundings. The impact of students' participation in school decisions does not constitute a significant moderator of the relationship. In contrast, the frequency of anti-bullying programs results to impact negatively on the association between communication strategies and surroundings' safety.
... Therefore, the teachers' mathematical competence is described retrospectively from the students' perspective and therefore is based on that of any teachers they have had rather than a specific one. Although we do not have a teacher's perspective, students' voices are very important in improving education and promoting engagement in school (Mitra, 2005;Cook-Sather, 2007). ...
Article
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Competent mathematics teachers who have knowledge of gifted students' needs can challenge them in math and prevent boredom and possible underachievement. This retrospective study explores how Norwegian gifted students perceive their earlier teachers' mathematical competency, as well as their reflections about boredom in school. The data were collected through qualitative semistructured interviews with 11 mathematically gifted students who participated in accelerated classes throughout school. The informants ranged in age from 16 to 19 years and were asked about how they experienced their math classes, teachers, and social aspects. The results indicate that students view their teachers as having less mathematical knowledge in earlier school than in later years and that teachers' mathematical knowledge might affect whether they are able to challenge and identify students who are gifted in mathematics.
... For instance, when children discussed their climate change education programming with their parents, parents were found to have gains in climate change concern-and this effect was largest among politically conservative parents who initially had the lowest levels of climate change concern . It is wellestablished that young learners benefit from engaging in the political process through increased agency, competence (Mitra, 2004;Zeldin, 2004), and self-confidence (Jensen and Schnack, 1997;Dworkin et al., 2003). It is quite possible that youth political participation not only benefits the youth themselves, but the entire political process, by inspiring action among older generations (Williams et al., 2017) and providing a pathway to overcoming barriers to political progress related to partisan polarization . ...
Article
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Many of the most sweeping social movements throughout history have been youth-led, including those related to environmental challenges. Emerging research suggests youth can build environmental concern among parents via intergenerational learning, in some cases overcoming socio-ideological differences that normally stymie attempts at collective action. What has not been studied is the potential for youth to also influence adults outside their immediate families. This study based in North Carolina, USA, explores the potential of today's young people as environmental change-agents in their communities on the topic of marine debris. Specifically, this evaluation examines responses from voters and local officials after participating in youth-led civic engagement events. After engaging with a youth-led civic engagement event, voters, and local officials completed a retrospective pretest survey that asked questions about levels of marine debris concern and their likelihood of supporting a local marine debris ordinance. Young people encouraged both concern and policy support among both voters and officials, and that concern and policy support increased independently of whether adults were voters or officials, liberals or conservatives, or knew the students personally. Further, participation in the youth-led engagement event reduced political differences in marine debris concern. This study suggests youth can play a critical role addressing marine debris challenges by promoting support for marine debris management policy, and doing so across political barriers.
... The focus of research is on how to improve students' learning by using their potential and competencies, to make their education more beneficial (Mitra, 2004). Bergmark and Kostenius (2018) conducted a study on student's meaningful experiences in educational institutions, with the emphasis on issues related to the educational process. ...
Article
This study investigates the students’ perceptions regarding their voices towards improvement in learning at public and private sector universities in Pakistan. These voices are collected by the Quality Enhancement Cells of the varsities through either technological tools or other ways. To understand how this data is utilized, a self-constructed and validated tool was utilized to get information about four categories; understanding of the term student voices, inquiry of learning process; university facilitation for best learning and implementation of student voices. Using purposive sampling technique, a survey of 112 under graduate students from four fields of studies (social sciences, natural sciences, business administrations and languages) from a Public and Private Sector University each from District Lahore was conducted. Data was analyzed by using SPSS version 22, and t-test and chi-square was performed to measure the difference in institutional facilitation of public and private sector universities. One-way ANOVA was applied to check the effects of student’s status in the class on the inquiry of learning process. The study indicated statistically significant effect of public and private sector on students’ perceptions regarding institutional facilitations for learning improvement. The study also reported the significant effects of student’s status on the inquiry of learning process. It is suggested that further studies need to explore how and where the students’ voices are being used for planning, assessment and course development. Keywords: Institutional facilitation, students’ voice, Higher Education, Pakistan
... MTA is grounded in a positive youth development (PYD) approach emphasizing youth voice, which allows youth to play a decision-making role in planning and program creation (Fox et al., 2008) and builds a sense of empowerment when youths' opinions and inputs on matters that affect them are valued (Mitra, 2004). During MTA, youth lead and are involved in the planning process and they are actively engaged with their advisors and BGCA staff both during and after the training. ...
Article
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Youth in military families are frequently challenged by the adjustment demands associated with the deployment and reintegration of a parent. A positive youth development approach was undertaken by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to develop and implement a Teen Ambassadors Training (TAT) for youth in military families that would facilitate knowledge of resiliency and reintegration and foster leadership skills to build assets for themselves as well as their peers within their local communities. To determine if TAT was functioning as intended and to refine future programming, this preliminary formative study assessed perceived participant learning outcomes associated with TAT on variables pertaining to knowledge acquisition, perceived skill acquisition, and community needs awareness. Data were collected prior to the training, immediately following the training, and 6 months after the training. Repeated measures analysis indicated significant mean increases over time in knowledge and awareness of resiliency and reintegration; perceived leadership skills; and community awareness. Qualitative findings provided triangulation in the aforementioned areas. These findings strengthen the body of knowledge on resiliency by demonstrating that the 7 Cs model may be an effective strategy to incorporate into leadership development programs seeking to build knowledge of resiliency among military youth. Study limitations, lessons learned, and recommendations for further research are delineated.
Article
This study explored how student engagement was related to perceived teacher autonomy support and self-determination skill expression among 145 Grades 9 through 12 African American high school students. First, we examined differences between male and female students’ engagement, perceived teacher autonomy support, and self-determination skill expression. Results indicated that male and female students did not report significant differences in the extent to which they were engaged in class, perceived their teachers as supporting their autonomy, and expressed indicators of self-determination. Second, regression analysis indicated that perceived teacher autonomy support and self-determination skill expression were significant, positive predictors of students’ engagement in class. An additional mediation model demonstrated that self-determination skill expression mediated the relationship between perceived teacher autonomy support and student engagement. Strategies for supporting African American high school students’ autonomy and self-determination skill expression are provided, as well as limitations and directions for future research.
Article
Case studies of single classrooms and schools have shown promising evidence of learning outcomes associated with action civics and student voice. These findings justify efforts to expand and sustain such opportunities, to ensure greater access for students, and to create a positive feedback loop between youth activism and equity-centered systems change. Although the literature on educational innovation and scaling offers some guidance, this literature has not grappled sufficiently with issues of power that come to the fore when the innovation, such as student activism, challenges dominant systems and practices. We draw on theories of antiracist education and community organizing to propose a theory of change for scaling and sustaining justice-centered civic learning. We situate this argument in examples from a research-practice partnership that has sought to scale a district-sponsored program that works with teachers and students to raise awareness about injustices and to catalyze student engagement in action research and policy change.
Article
Online settings have been suggested as viable sites for youth to develop social, emotional, and technical skills that can positively shape their behavior online. However, little work has been done to understand how online governance structures might support (or hinder) such learning. Using mixed-methods research, we report findings from a 2-year, in-the-wild study of 8–13 year olds on a custom multiplayer Minecraft server. The two-part study focuses on the design of youth-centered models of community governance drawn from evidence-based offline practices in the prevention and learning sciences. Preliminary results point to a set of socio-technical design approaches shaping player behavior while also supporting youth interest in Minecraft-like online environments. More broadly, the findings suggest an alternative vision of youth’s capacity for ownership and control of mechanisms shaping the culture and climate of their online communities: managing player behavior while challenging current norms around adult control and surveillance of youth activity.
Article
We report on national trends in STEM program quality using the Dimensions of Success (DoS), an empirical observation tool that provides a common definition of STEM program quality. We analyzed ratings for 12 dimensions of quality obtained from 452 DoS observations performed in 452 STEM-focused OST programs across 25 U.S. states by certified DoS observers. When plotted on a graph, the averages for the 12 quality dimensions display a ‘double-dip’ – a phrase that has been used in practice to communicate OST STEM strengths (higher ratings) and challenges (lower ratings). Nationally, OST programs excelled in quality indicators related to features of the learning environment, including preparation, materials, and space, as well as relationships. However, programs demonstrated less consistent evidence for quality in dimensions related to STEM knowledge and practices, including STEM content learning, inquiry, and reflection (dip #1), as well as areas related to supporting youth voice and STEM relevance (dip #2). This ‘double-dip’ persisted regardless of region, locale, season, and participant age or gender, though certain program and participant characteristics changed the magnitude of the scores. Ongoing professional development efforts are needed to address persistently challenging areas that are essential for building children’s STEM skills, content knowledge, and fluency. Key words: Informal education, STEM, research trend, professional development.
Article
Does student voice matter? This study examined how Latinx students used their voice to share their experiences about how they were perceived and treated at their schools. Data collection included focus groups with Latinx students. Students’ responses indicated they did not feel safe nor did their school create a caring environment. Students’ also noted their concerns about not getting access to school counselors or post-secondary schooling. Findings indicated that listening to students is an important factor in keeping schools accountable for how they serve underrepresented students.
Article
As interest in student voice has grown over the past two decades, questions have emerged about how teachers conceive of and engage with student voice, the extent to which they do so, and how these practices vary across different school and district policy contexts. This study explores these questions, using survey data collected from U.S. teachers in two urban and two suburban districts. The findings reveal that while many educators see student voice as synonymous with students’ input into classroom or school decision-making, a comparable number equate student voice with student opinions in general. This difference highlights the need for shared understanding so that educators, administrators, policymakers, and researchers can unite around a common conception and set of practices and so that the field can become more cohesive. The study also finds that those educators who define student voice as students’ input into school or classroom decision-making use a range of techniques for soliciting student voice in order to inform their instruction, empower students, and build strong student-teacher relationships. Implications for further research, teacher training, professional development, and policy are discussed.
Article
Qualitative researchers often turn to focus groups as an efficient and effective way to gather data in a collective context. A common critique is that they play into power dynamics present at the site, privileging dominant, high status, and more vocal participants. Traditional focus group structures also rely on participants to trust the interviewer, without building rapport or clarity about the research process itself. We describe an approach to focus groups that aims to circumvent traditional power dynamics while offering insight and transparency into the research process. Our Scaffolded Focus Group approach has three stages: individual surveys, small group discussions, and a large group discussion. It gives participants time to understand the research process while also building trust between the interviewer and participants, giving students voice, and providing participants greater transparency in the research process. In this way, participants become co-creators in the research endeavor.
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Chapter
This chapter argues for the need to engage with students’ voices in schools to promote inclusive and democratic learning contexts. Firstly, the chapter introduces a theoretical framework about inclusive and democratic education and points out two polysemous and controversial concepts with elements of convergence: students’ voices and participation in schools. Secondly, illustrative examples from research in primary and secondary schools that focused on students’ voices are discussed. Examples from research in primary schools where students’ voices were used as a key to develop inclusive education practices are presented. Listening to students’ voices is closely related to notions of inclusion since theories of inclusion support the idea of valuing all members’ views. Research on student participation in democratic secondary schools, which examined four areas of democratic participation are then described, followed by attempts to explore how a democratic school is conceived in relation to student participation. Finally, different challenges and opportunities that emerge in primary and secondary schools that adopt student voice approaches are discussed, in order to understand the link between the students’ role and the promotion of inclusive and democratic education in schools.
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Health Promoting Schools (HPS) is a whole-school approach that shapes the conditions necessary to support student health and well-being. Youth engagement is recognized as key to HPS implementation, yet research related to the involvement of youth voice in school health promotion initiatives is limited. The purpose of this study was to understand youth perspectives on HPS and school youth engagement. Ten youth (grades 9–10, ages 14–16) were trained as peer researchers using a Youth Participatory Action Research approach. The peer researchers interviewed 23 of their peers (grades 7–10, ages 12–16) on perspectives related to HPS and school youth engagement. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and data were analysed using inductive ‘codebook’ thematic analysis. Themes related to a healthy school community were mapped onto the pillars of HPS: (i) Social and Physical Environment, (ii) Teaching and Learning, (iii) Partnerships and Services and (iv) School Policies. Participants placed more importance on the social and physical environment of the school including respect, inclusivity, supportive relationships and the design of spaces. Key factors for youth engagement were: (i) safe and supportive spaces, (ii) passion and interest, (iii) using their voice, (iv) power dynamics, (v) accessibility and (vi) awareness. With recognition that youth engagement is a crucial part of HPS, this work provides relevant and applicable information on areas of the healthy school community that are important to youth, and if/how they are meaningfully engaged in school decision-making.
Article
Past research on ethnocultural minority students indicates that persistent inequities require greater attention to the multiple learning supports needed to enhance school success. The present study was designed to extend research in this area by exploring school climate and emotional engagement among minority ethnocultural Chinese students in Malaysian secondary schools. We employed quantitative surveys with 724 students (M age = 16.1 years; 47.9% female), followed by qualitative interviews with a subset of 25 students (M age = 16.1 years; 52% female). Path analysis indicated that feelings of safety, socio-emotional support from teachers and peers, and student voice were predictors of emotional engagement for Chinese students, which further predicted cognitive engagement, academic performance, and school behavior. Thematic analysis further revealed that language and communication barriers and bullying negatively impacted students' sense of safety and engagement. Caring, respectful relationships with teachers led to students having opportunities to direct their own learning and make decisions on schoolwide activities, promoting students' feelings of engagement. Support from peers increased students' emotional engagement by reducing school-related stressors. The findings suggest that a mutually respectful, caring school climate and opportunities for student voice can enhance critical school experiences for ethnocultural minority high school students.
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Drawing on student self-report survey data, this study examines student engagement across 67 urban high schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Results show that schools with higher rates of affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement differ significantly from schools with other engagement profiles in students' average reports of teacher care and student voice. Path analyses lend support for self-determination theory and corroborate qualitative research that observes that student voice can improve student engagement. By highlighting the roles of teacher care and feelings of competence and belonging, this study identifies key means by which student voice influences student engagement. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11256-022-00637-2.
Article
Although youth advisory structures (YASs) have proliferated internationally to facilitate the voice of young people, little is known about the practices of such groups, especially in the United States. To address this gap of knowledge, this study describes the findings of a scoping review of scholarly research on YAS in the United States. The review found that although the use of YAS is increasing, current scholarship offers little information about YAS processes or how youth are engaged. Most YAS in the review partnered with marginalized young people to inform research and programming around sensitive health topics, such as human immunodeficiency virus prevention. Youth who participated in YAS experienced positive outcomes such as leadership and skill development, healthier decision-making, and confidence. Although most studies involved youth in minimal ways, there is a growing body of literature where youth are engaged in long-term partnerships that support positive youth development. This review details other key characteristics of YAS and provides recommendations for best practices, such as building consensus around terms used to refer to YAS and promoting the dissemination of process details around YAS facilitation.
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Questions of children’s agency have experienced a resurgence in education theory over the past years. Yet, there have been few attempts to examine children’s agency in the context of a primary classroom from the viewpoint of the curriculum. This gap is being addressed by a longitudinal project exploring the impact of the National Curriculum for England on children’s agency through a critical discourse analysis of the curriculum text and an ethnography of three primary schools in England. This paper reports on the results of the critical discourse analysis examining how children’s agency is talked about (or silenced) in England’s curriculum.
Article
Historically and contemporarily students have been critical to bringing issues of justice in education policy to the fore. Yet, there have been limited formal spaces that elevate student voice scholarship in educational policy. In response, this Politics of Education Association (PEA) Yearbook Issue of Educational Policy aims to serve as a platform for opening up new areas for investigation, especially connections between theory to practice specific to student voice in educational policy and the politics of education. This collection of feature articles and research briefs offer diverse examples of how students are influencing change in education policy and practice, while also presenting the political realities and tensions that emerge when students participate in policy leadership activities.
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This paper situates and examines the challenges and failure of schools to meaningfully center students using current instructional practices and other initiatives. It extends to school leaders, teachers, and organizations that offer professional development services in education, a new methodology for thinking about and implementing instructional coaching in schools that uses student voice and student leadership to transform teacher practice and student learning experiences. This methodology, Samuels’ Student Voice-Enabled Instructional Coaching – SVE-IC, revolutionizes teacher professional development by 1) integrating students into the observation and feedback loops of instructional coaching, shifting students from objects of observation in teacher evaluations to active participants in continuous improvement efforts within schools, and, as part of this process, 2) teaching students the language of pedagogy, and how to apply it in evaluation, which develops for students a new kind of social currency that gives them the linguistic capital for shared leadership within school systems. Pierre Bourdieu, notable sociologist and author of “Language and Symbolic Power” defines linguistic capital within the context of social capital as the value ascribed to certain linguistic capabilities based on the mobility it affords individuals within social and economic hierarchies. The SVE-IC sees student use of pedagogical concepts in the evaluation of their instruction as having a potentially metacognitive effect — providing students with an active strategy for assessing the tools and processes of their education in relation to their own progress and potential toward their goals. In this way, expanding instructional coaching to include students becomes a method of operationalizing Paulo Freire’s theory of Conscientização (2006), developing a critical consciousness among students that gives them the power to transform their social realities.
Article
Student voice and agency are important topics in education, but related initiatives remain under-investigated. This study investigates the link between student voice and perception of student agency through the introduction of a student-led committee using a longitudinal mixed-method approach in an independent secondary school in Scotland. Paired-samples t-tests were conducted for the students’ (n = 95) responses showing an increase in mean effect (p = 0.025) of the introduction of the committee on student perception of student consultation and decision making in the school. Committee members reported a reduction in their sense of agency (n = 5, p = 0.045). Qualitative data is presented to support the discussion of results which suggest student-led committees affect the perception of student agency and wider school ethos is important.
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Background: The Students As LifeStyle Activists (SALSA) Program is an effective Australian peer-led leadership program offered to high schools. SALSA Youth Voices (SYV) is a novel extension of the SALSA program, providing SALSA Peer Leaders with an opportunity to further develop leadership skills, and to design and implement an intervention to promote healthy eating and physical activity within their school. The objectives of this study were to 1) measure the acceptability of the SYV program, 2) determine skills gained by peer leaders from participating in SYV, and 3) determine whether peer leaders successfully implemented a student-designed healthy eating/physical activity intervention. Methods: Schools which participated in the SALSA program in 2019 were invited to a Leadership Day workshop (Term 3) where SALSA Peer Leaders identified and planned an activity to promote healthy eating and/or physical activity at their school, and an Action Day (Term 4) where peer leaders presented their interventions to 100 health and education professionals. Peer leaders completed two brief online surveys at the end of the Leadership Day and upon registration at the Action Day. Results: Eighty-four peer leaders (aged 14–15 years) from seven high schools in western Sydney (mean Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) = 951) participated in SYV. Peer leaders reported their involvement with the SYV program as positive, with 68% rating it as “very valuable”. Skills gained by the peer leaders included teamwork (90%), communication (85%), leadership (77%) and confidence (65%). Peer leaders planned and devised interventions included installing water refill stations, improving school gyms, redesigning girls’ sports shorts, and other strategies to engage girls in physical activity. Most peer leaders reported their intervention was successfully implemented and sustainable in their school. Conclusions: SYV provides a unique leadership opportunity for students from socio-economically disadvantaged areas to be effective agents of change to create opportunities for students to participate in physical activity and improve healthy food options at school.
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Computer Science education (CSed) often aims to position youth as designers, creators, and those with a voice in their world. But do youth have opportunities to design, create, and have voice around the shape of their CSed learning experiences? In this study, we explore ways that school districts engage youth to contribute to the shaping and enactment of their CS instructional systems, efforts districts make to have these leadership roles create impact within these systems, and the tensions associated with these processes. Through in depth analysis of five district case studies, our findings highlight variance around the nature of leadership roles , how access to leadership roles is structured, student autonomy within and ownership over leadership roles, how roles reach into and index differential power over instructional systems , and how district processes of scaffolding and infrastructuring mediate the ultimate impact that students in these roles are able to have on CS instructional systems. Findings also surfaced ways that district actors dealt with a number of tensions associated with student leadership within CS instructional systems. This study provides educators, administrators, and researchers with an expansive view of the potential for students to play legitimate roles within the context of system-wide instructional efforts around CS, and aims to expand conceptions of ‘equitable computer science’—up to this point largely conceived of through the lenses of access to, participation in, and experiences of CS learning—to focus on equity as also being about who has ‘a seat at the table’ when it comes to CS.
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This study explores the ways that youth make sense of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how context informs the scope and nature of youth-led local civic action. Using an embedded case study approach, this study focuses on the Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability project, which engages scores of young people in the state of Vermont, U.S.A. Data for this study was drawn from observations and interviews of middle and high school students and teachers from 18 participating schools. The study’s findings show the value of intermediaries as catalysts for civic action, demonstrate ways of linking global policy with local civic action, and show how a youth-adult partnership model can deepen the meaning and implementation of civic action.
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Language learning can open up new worlds and deepen understanding of our own. It can foster awareness of other people, other places and cultures, and bring social and educational benefits. Northern Ireland (NI) is an increasingly multilingual region that is emerging from conflict into a welcome, but fragile, peace. It faces unique uncertainties caused by Brexit, as well as the need to develop empathy in face of the COVID‐19 pandemic. Concerns have been expressed also about academic underachievement and mental health amongst its young people. Against such a background, this paper explores the current context in NI relating to languages, and curriculum policy and practice in language education. It argues that curriculum reform with respect to languages in Northern Ireland would be timely. The paper makes five key recommendations: (1) Reform of curriculum, policy and practice relating to language education in NI; (2) Introduction of statutory language learning in primary schools; (3) Investment in teacher development; (4) Valuing of linguistic diversity and plurality in curriculum policy and practice; and (5) Further practice‐based research to explore pedagogy and outcomes in language education in NI.
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Although most individuals pass through adolescence without excessively high levels of "storm and stress," many do experience difficulty. Why? Is there something unique about this developmental period that puts adolescents at risk for difficulty? This article focuses on this question and advances the hypothesis that some of the negative psychological changes associated with adolescent development result from a mismatch between the needs of developing adolescents and the opportunities afforded them by their social environments. It provides examples of how this mismatch develops in the school and in the home and how it is linked to negative age-related changes in early adolescents' motivation and self-perceptions. Ways in which more developmentally appropriate social environments can be created are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Youth policy in the United States historically has been characterized by a fragmented set of programs with no center. No single entity addresses youth issues holistically at the national level. The recent outbreak of youth homicides has brought renewed attention to juvenile crime; national reports on increased drug use have led to political finger pointing and new commissions; and ongoing debates about public education in economically disadvantaged communities have generated what most think are simplistic funding and management fixes.
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This paper reviews research on students’ concepts and theories of fair and effective educational practices and casts them as insightful critics of schooling who should be included in the negotiation of academic practices. Formal interviews show that students consider the goal or definition of the situation when evaluating the fairness of practices, and that conceptions of fairness develop differently for each type of situation. Students also hold different theories about how school should be defined and which situations should predominate. Moral education programmes could encourage students and teachers to negotiate fair classroom practices, creating a community of scholars who collaborate to build more fair and effective schools.
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Early adolescents'sense of classroom belonging and support-of being liked, respected, and valued by fellow students and by the teacher-was investigated among 353 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade middle school students. Focusing on one academic class, students completed scales of classroom belonging and support, expectancies for success, and intrinsic interest and value; course grades and effort ratings were obtained from English teachers. Each of three belonging/support factors identified by principal components analysis contributed significantly to explaining variance in expectancies and value, with teacher support having the most consistently substantial influence across student subgroups. The strength of association between support and motivation dropped significantly from sixth to eighth grade. Teacher support was more closely related to motivation for girls than for boys. Expectancy was the primary predictor of class effort and grades. These findings underscore the importance of belonging and interpersonal support in fostering academic motivation and achievement.
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This report examines five dimensions of various initiatives intended to empower students. It is based on two case studies of schools belonging to the Coalition of Essential Schools, a school-reform project aimed at improving teaching and learning in American schools. The report focuses on the level of power that administrators and teachers considered shifting to students at these two schools. It looks at the processes by which the schools empowered students by creating formal structures that would elicit critical student input. The paper discusses whether a shared definition of empowerment was ever sought or achieved and makes the claim that "student empowerment" is an imprecise term. Continuing in this vein of the nature of empowerment, the report discusses how students responded to proposed changes and how they, rather than being passive receptors, were active participants in interactions with teachers. Finally, the paper considers the larger question of what type of power legitimately belongs to students in the empowerment process. The schools under study never resolved the question of appropriate student power and never included students in these discussions. The report cautions that as long as empowerment is bestowed by the powerful on the less powerful, certain problems will arise. (RJM)
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This occasionally biographical paper deals with three cognitive and social patterns in the practice of science (not 'the scientific method’). The first, “establishing the phenomenon,” involves the doctrine (universally accepted in the abstract) that phenomena should of course be shown to exist or to occur before one explains why they exist or how they come to be; sources of departure in practice from this seemingly self-evident principle are examined. One parochial case of such a departure is considered in detail. The second pattern is the particular form of ignorance described as “specified ignorance”: the express recognition of what is not yet known but needs to be known in order to lay the foundation for still more knowledge. The substantial role of this practice in the sciences is identified and the case of successive specification of ignorance in the evolving sociological theory of deviant behavior by four thought-collectives is sketched out. Reference is made to the virtual institutionalization of specified ignorance in some sciences and the question is raised whether scientific disciplines differ in the extent of routinely specifying ignorance and how this affects the growth of knowledge. The two patterns of scientific practice are linked to a third: the use of “strategic research materials (SRMs)” i.e. strategic research sites, objects, or events that exhibit the phenomena to be explained or interpreted to such advantage and in such accessible form that they enable the fruitful investigation of previously stubborn problems and the discovery of new problems for further inquiry. The development of biology is taken as a self-exemplifying case since it provides innumerable SRMs for the sociological study of the selection and consequences of SRMs in science. The differing role of SRMs in the natural sciences and in the Geisteswissenschaften is identified and several cases of strategic research sites and events in sociology, explored.
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The situative perspective shifts the focus of analysis from individual behavior and cognition to larger systems that include behaving cognitive agents interacting with each other and with other subsystems in the environment. The first section presents a version of the situative perspective that draws on studies of social interaction, philosophical situation theory, and ecological psychology. Framing assumptions and concepts are proposed for a synthesis of the situative and cognitive theoretical perspectives, and a further situative synthesis is suggested that would draw on dynamic-systems theory. The second section discusses relations between the situative, cognitive, and behaviorist theoretical perspectives and principles of educational practice. The third section discusses an approach to research and social practice called interactive research and design, which fits with the situative perspective and provides a productive, albeit syncretic, combination of theory-oriented and instrumental functions of research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The situative perspective shifts the focus of analysis from individual behavior and cognition to larger systems that include behaving cognitive agents interacting with each other and with other subsystems in the environment. The first section presents a version of the situative perspective that draws on studies of social interaction, philosophical situation theory, and ecological psychology. Framing assumptions and concepts are proposed for a synthesis of the situative and cognitive theoretical perspectives, and a further situative synthesis is suggested that would draw on dynamic-systems theory. The second section discusses relations between the situative, cognitive, and behaviorist theoretical perspectives and principles of educational practice. The third section discusses an approach to research and social practice called interactive research and design, which fits with the situative perspective and provides a productive, albeit syncretic, combination of theory-oriented and instrumental functions of research.
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For the most part, discussions about developing strategies to solve educational problems lack the perspectives of one of the very groups they most affect — students, especially those students who are categorized as "problems" and are most oppressed by traditional educational structures and procedures. In this article, Sonia Nieto uses interviews to develop case studies of young people from a wide variety of ethnic, racial, linguistics, and social-class backgrounds who at the time interviewed were attending and successfully completing junior or senior high school. By focusing on students' thoughts about a number of school policies and practices and on the effects of racism and other forms of discrimination on their education, Nieto explores what characteristics of these students' specific experiences helped them remain and succeed in school, despite the obstacles. In essence, these are lessons from students, and Nieto believes that in order to reflect critically on school reform, students need to be includ...
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This article examines a student group's two-pronged strategy to build partnerships with teachers at a U.S. high school. Through "teacher-focused" activities, students became aware of teachers' perspectives; "student-focused" activities allowed teachers to learn from students. The article also considers the organizational contexts that enabled this symbiotic strategy to take hold, activities that do not attack classroom practice, buffering group activities from external threats and building bridges with teachers in the school, and supporting the adult advisors who support the group. LA VOIX DES ELEVES DANS LA REFORME SCOLAIRE: RESTRUCTURATION DES RAPPORTS ENTRE ELEVES ET PROFESSEURS RESUME. Cet article analyse la double strategie utilisee par un groupe d'eleves pour tablir des partenariats avec les professeurs dans une cole secondaire des Etats-Unis. Par le biais d'activites < axees sur les professeurs >, les eleves prennent conscience des points de vue de ces derniers; les activites <. axees sur les elves a permettent pour leur part aux professeurs de s'instruire sur leurs elves. L'article envisage egalement les contextes organisationnels qui permettent a cette strategie symbiotique de prendre appui. Ces activites ne veulent pas attaquer les pratiques de classe, mais veulent amortir les menaces exterieures au groupe, construire des ponts entre les enseignants de l'ecole et supporter les conseillers adultes qui interagissent avec le groupe.
Book
List of figures List of tables Preface 1. Introduction: psychology and anthropology I Part I. Theory in Practice: 2. Missionaries and cannibals (indoors) 3. Life after school 4. Psychology and anthropology II Part II. Practice in Theory: 5. Inside the supermarket (outdoors) and from the veranda 6. Out of trees of knowledge into fields for activity 7. Through the supermarket 8. Outdoors: a social anthropology of cognition in practice Notes References.
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In this article we examine self-regulation as a nonacademic outcome of schooling and assess school- and community-based programs and practices that aim to promote it. From Deweyan and Vygotskian perspectives, self-regulation is conceived broadly as the product of reciprocal person-context relations. It is defined as the planful pursuit of goals that is flexible and promotes individual growth and social change. Self-regulation is characterized by 3 types and levels of person-context interactions: (1) internalization and close personal relations, (2) empowerment and contingent environments, and (3) future orientation and social capital. We examine how self-regulation develops and is supported within and across these types of person-context interactions using Bronfenbrenner's ecological model of human development. Implications for 2 aspects of social change-cultural enrichment and social transformation for the promotion of democratic communities-are explored.
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School improvement, as Ruth Jonathan (1990, p. 568) has said, is not merely a matter of 'rapid response to changing market forces through a trivialised curriculum', but a question of dealing with the deep structures of school and the habits of thought and values they embody. To manage school improvement we need to look at schools from the pupils' perspective and that means tuning in to their experiences and views and creating a new order of experience for them as active participants.
Article
The paper explores the background and implementation of a project in which school students researched the factors which affect the decision to remain at school or leave at 16. The two major concerns of the project were equity and access to higher education. It was the result of a collaboration between researchers from the University of Birmingham, school teachers and school students. A critique is offered of the method of students as researchers focusing upon five main issues, organisation, time, equity, research style and clashing cultures.
Article
Youth development programs are gaining prominence as a way to help adolescents become competent, engaged, and responsible adults. However, the definition of youth development programs is elusive. Most simply, youth development programs are programs that provide opportunities and support to help youth gain the competencies and knowledge they need to meet the increasing challenges they will face as they mature. Typically, they are community based, rather than school based. In this article, we evaluate the usefulness of the youth development framework based on 15 program evaluations. The results of the evaluations are discussed and 3 general themes emerge. First, programs incorporating more elements of the youth development framework seem to show more positive outcomes. Second, the evaluations support the importance of a caring adult-adolescent relationship, although these relationships need not be limited to 1-on-1 mentoring. And 3rd, longer-term programs that engage youth throughout adolescence appear to be the most effective. The policy and programmatic implications of these findings are discussed.
Book
The concept of the case is a basic feature of social science research and yet many questions about how a case should be defined, how cases should be selected and what the criteria are for a good case or set of cases are far from settled. Are cases pre-existing phenomena that need only be identified by the researcher before analysis can begin? Or are cases constructed during the course of research, only after analysis has revealed which features should be considered defining characteristics? Will cases be selected randomly from the total pool of available cases? Or will cases be chosen because of their unique qualities? These questions and many others are addressed by the contributors to this volume as they probe the nature of the case and the ways in which different understandings of what a case is affect the conduct and the results of research. The contributors find a good deal of common ground, and yet they also express strikingly different views on many key points. As Ragin argues and the contributions demonstrate, the work of any given researcher is often characterized by some hybrid of these basic approaches, and it is important to understand that most research involves multiple definitions and uses of cases, as both specific empirical phenomena and as general theoretical categories.
Article
This occasionally biographical paper deals with three cognitive and social patterns in the practice of science (not 'the scientific method’). The first, “establishing the phenomenon,” involves the doctrine (universally accepted in the abstract) that phenomena should of course be shown to exist or to occur before one explains why they exist or how they come to be; sources of departure in practice from this seemingly self-evident principle are examined. One parochial case of such a departure is considered in detail. The second pattern is the particular form of ignorance described as “specified ignorance”: the express recognition of what is not yet known but needs to be known in order to lay the foundation for still more knowledge. The substantial role of this practice in the sciences is identified and the case of successive specification of ignorance in the evolving sociological theory of deviant behavior by four thought-collectives is sketched out. Reference is made to the virtual institutionalization of s...
Article
This document provides a working definition of youth development based on existing theories and discussions, and crafts a strong case for strengthening the role of the non-school voluntary sector in promoting youth development. Part I of this three-part report focuses on this working definition of youth development, examining the need for such a definition, the need within the non-school voluntary sector, and a framework for thinking about youth development and youth development supports. Part II works toward a theory of youth development. Competence and competencies are defined, as are basic needs. The relationship between needs and competencies is explored, and implications for a theory of positive youth development agents are discussed. The actors that influence youth are identified. Part III examines the role of the voluntary sector in promoting positive youth development. This section includes a snapshot of the non-school voluntary sector, a sampling of empirical evidence that strengthening youth programming within the non-school voluntary sector makes sense, and a sampling of supportive theories. The document concludes that there is a strong case for strengthening and better defining the role of community programs in youth development. "Communities and Adolescents: An Exploration of Reciprocal Supports" is appended. A 10-page bibliography is included. (NB)
Article
This book attempts to describe the way a number of students behave in high school; and to explain the way their behavior affects themselves, the teachers, administrators, and the entire school organization. The study was undertaken with the hope of developing a clearer understanding of the way these students see and act in high school, and to develop a better understanding of why they do what they do. The descriptions presented in the book were gathered during a 6-month period during which the author daily attended a moderately large high school, associated with some students, went to classes, ate in the cafeteria, and took part in the informal classroom and corridor life. Different chapters discuss the methodology of the study, the school environment, the students, the athletic group, other student groups, and the integration of the student groups with the school organization. In each chapter, the author first presents an objective description of what he saw and then concludes with his own personal comments. The final chapter examines the sociocultural characteristics of the school's organization and some of its intended and unintended effects. (Author/DN)
Article
Reports on the work of the Child Development Project. The project outlined a series of approaches and characteristics shared by successful character development school programs. These include creating a caring community, a social constructivist approach to staff development, use of cooperative learning strategies, autonomy, belonging, and competence. (MJP)
Article
Seven Oaks School, a high school in Winnipeg (Canada) recently conducted a followup study of its graduates using a unique approach. High school seniors helped develop the structured interview instrument and carried out the research. As it gathered important information to help the school district in its planning, the study provided students with the valuable experience of doing authentic research as part of their high school experience. The school district serves 9,200 students in Winnipeg, the capital city of Manitoba. Six students from each of the district's three high schools were selected to participate as part of requirements of a Language and Transactional English course. With student input, a consultant designed a series of questions to be used in telephone interviews. Students interviewed 410 former students, about 30% of the total population for the 2 years chosen for the study. Students were trained in analyzing the data and eventually prepared a presentation for their school. Audiences at the school conference, staff meetings, and the Board of Education were impressed by the information and presentation of these young researchers. The approach combines low-cost data collection with the improvement of district-wide communication and educational experience for students. (SLD)
Article
This study examines how high school students in dance make sense of their experiences, using a methodology of interpretive inquiry. Based on field work in five different dance classes, taught by three teachers at two high schools, most of the data comes from extensive interviews conducted with the 36 students who chose to participate and returned consent forms. The researcher identifies two major themes, one having to do with relationships (with dance classes often described as a safe and idealized home and/or family, providing supportive teacher and peer relationships), the second with how students construct meaning and value from their school experiences. Through the data emerges what students say they desire from school: To be stimulated, to learn; To have a sense of meaning in what they are being taught; To be treated with understanding, to be cared for; and To be able to be themselves. This involves conditions of both security (being accepted as they ought to be in their own family) and freedom (to express themselves). While students indicated that these desires are largely met in their dance classes and not in required courses, this did not translate into their perceiving greater value for dance. With their clear belief, strongly supported by the culture, that school is a means to important ends (graduation, admission to college, career preparation), electives like dance, no matter how personally meaningful, are not viewed as very important. Dance class and other personally meaningful activities become a temporary escape, allowing students to tolerate the rest of their hours in school.
Article
Recent literature demonstrates the need for closer examination of general track curriculum students' experiences in order to increase high school graduation rates. General track students' reactions to school policies and practices governing extracurricular activities and attendance are described in this report. A case study methodology involved indepth interviews with 236 individuals, 178 of whom were high school students who are the focus of this report. Students reported that some school improvement policies are counterproductive and inequitable and described their classes as boring and their participation in school activities as obstructed. Findings demonstrate the need for institutionalized procedures to obtain student input about school improvement policies and for increased student participation opportunities. (26 references) (LMI)
Article
Issues and challenges in giving students a voice in the educational process, or motivating them through empowerment, are examined in this monograph. Students whose input is solicited feel a greater sense of ownership with the educational process, which increases their engagement and in turn facilitates school effectiveness. Following an introduction, chapter 1 offers a definition of student voice and a discussion of its evolution. The second chapter presents a review of motivational theories from the psychological and business management perspectives. The correlation between student input and engagement in the school community is examined in the third chapter. Chapter 4 describes strategies for developing student voice, examining three common problems associated with participative management and some experiences of an Oregon high school. A conclusion is that incorporating student voice into the administration requires a coordinated effort among all school community members and is most challenged by the view that student empowerment threatens the administration's power. (22 references) (LMI)
Article
Adolescents must be viewed as social assets even though there is reason to be concerned about the problems they present to society. Initial discussion relates difficulties adolescents face, problems with adults' perceptions of adolescents, differences in the difficulty of transition to adulthood for youth in different social classes, and the particularly precarious situation of disadvantaged minority youth trying to make the transition. Subsequent discussion focuses on adolescents' lack of civic responsibility. This problem can be addressed by youth services programs and programs involving adolescents in helping relationships with adults who are able to become mentors and role models. Additional recommendations on meeting adolescents' needs focus on the need for employment programs, for restructuring of dysfunctional schools, for flexibility by businesses in hiring high school graduates, and for simplification of voter registration procedures. The responsibility of the health professions and the role of religious institutions in meeting adolescents' needs are sketched. The reorientation of youth organizations to meet the changing needs of adolescents, and to increase the commitment of adults to this age group, is considered. (RH)