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Title: 'Reading a School' : Adult and Pupil Researchers' Perceptions of a School Culture
Author: Simmons, Patricia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 3694
Awarding Body: The Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines certain aspects of school culture both from the perspective of the researcher and from the eyes of year nine pupils (aged 13 to 14 years). In particular the research sought to appreciate how a school's culture impacted upon pupils who for a variety of reasons could be understood as `marginalised'. Finally, because the thesis has a significant reflexive dimension, it has allowed me to question a number of issues relating to my own professionalism. The context for the research project was a local authority comprehensive school. The school is situated in an extremely impoverished area and additionally it had just emerged from a damning OfSTED inspection. Both factors contributed towards making the school an extremely complex context in which to study features of culture. The research methodology drew significantly on Goffman's (1961) ethnographic approaches to understanding the intricacies of institutions. It also found resonance with Foucault's (1977) work, particularly in relation to discourses and discursive power. Both theorists allowed opportunities to appreciate the regulatory and disciplinary nature of institutions. My wish to get as close as possible to pupils in order to develop an understanding of the culture of their school plus my democratic values led me to advertise, interview and appoint pupils as researchers. This led to me introducing not one but several life experiencesin to the researchp rocess. Pupil voice is now much talked about and legislated for, and the work and commitment of Ruddock(2003), Kellett (2005), Fielding(2004), and others have led the way in challenging assumptions and championing the value of pupil voice. This thesis examines the challenges and complexities when pupils assume the role of researcher. Issues relating to power and democracy came under the spotlight as well as certain complications when the research has to accommodate both an `outsider's perspective' as well as the `insider' position of the pupil researchers. Having pupils situated in the position of researcher has provided a rich and detailed account. It is by deconstructingand sifting through this account that I have been able to ask hard and pressing questions about the ideal of giving school pupils `voice
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: EdD Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available