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Title: Consulting pupils about teaching and learning - rights, risks and roller coaster rides
Author: Robinson, Dean James
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This teacher research inquiry focuses on consulting pupils about teaching and learning. It seeks to do so within a children’s rights compliant methodology. Three classes of GCSE Business Studies students were involved. The consultation methods used were paper questionnaires; a Stop-Continue-Start (post-it based) consultation method and the electronic, Word Wall audience response system. The Action Research approach proposed by McNiff and Whitehead (2010) is used to develop my own ‘living theory’ of how best to consult pupils about teaching and learning. This study reports on how pupils responded to the consultations; the particular strengths and weaknesses of the methods used; and the challenges for me, as a teacher-researcher, of engaging in such a process in a school with no culture of pupil participation or consultation. The use of additional, initially unplanned consultation methods -pupil drawings and an e-survey is also reported on. This study identifies a strong pupil preference for electronic methods of consultation and calls for further research in this regard. Overtime, most pupils appeared to involve themselves more fully in the consultation process and increasingly value it. A small but vocal minority objected to being asked for their views on teaching and learning, suggesting it was an inappropriate practice, undeserving of class time. This study also reports on the negative response of colleagues to such consultations and the broader challenges of seeking to consult pupils in this context. A range of potentially significant benefits thought to ensue from these pupil consultations are also highlighted, including a more reflective, open, trusting, teacher-pupil relationship; a more explicit focus on learning and teacher-pupil dialogue about how to improve it; and better educational outcomes for students. This study highlights the risks and rewards of moving away from a comfortable status-quo to a more exhilarating roller coaster ride of a process. The culmination of which was a more consultative, learning- focussed classroom and a dawning personal realisation that teaching, within a single school department, should be tailored to the needs of individual learners rather than standardised across classes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available