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Title: Rhetoric and reality : student participation and what schools seem to value
Author: Mitchell, Stephanie Jane
ISNI:       0000 0001 3412 5248
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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Since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was ratified by the UK government. numerous policy ~documents have been issued based upon the principle of the .(1 child's right to be heard (Article 12). However. the government has since been criticized for failing to implement the principles of the CRC and specifically Article 12 in the context of education (UN. 1989). This multilayered study therefore explores student voice in Northern Ireland in two interrelated strands involving 60 students from five post-primary schools and 20 adult stakeholders to determine the extent of student voice and the factors that enable or inhibit its expression. Methods drawing upon students' views of what seemed to matter to their school included focus-group interviews and impromptu drawings to create visual metaphors of school supported by one-to-one interpretative interviews. Stakeholder views were explored through confidential. in-depth. one-to-one individual interviews. The core findings reveal three over-arching themes (1) conformity. (2) competition I performance (3) participation' I wellbeing expressed through two different emphases of reputation-oriented or internal community-oriented schools. Although students may be valued variously for themselves. their initiative or their reflected glory. valuing student opinion or voice was strqngly evident in only one school. Some diffidence about the value of their own voices was also evident aimong the adults. The stakeholder interviews reveal three archetypal conceptions of the adult I child relationship. Overall, factors that enable or inhibit student voice emerge as levels of trust in students and a disinclination to listen due to professional pride, fear of change, negative feedback and the consequences of losing or sharing power. In seeking to illuminate and bridge the gap between the rhetoric of student voice and the reality of its existence, the study identifies the key features of the process towards a comprehensive enabling of student voice in schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available