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Title: An exploration of the potential of dialogue through digital media on learning partnerships and pupil voice
Author: Gregory, David William
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 2658
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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Recent documents published by the Scottish Government appear to signal an increase in the importance of young people in Scotland having a voice in their education (throughout the study I refer to children of primary school age as pupils; those of secondary school age as students and will use the term young people when referring to both age groups). To some extent, this is nothing new as pupil voice has been part of the educational landscape since the 1980s. However, this begs the question that if pupil voice has been with us for nearly 40 years why is it needing to be reemphasised? What is not working? These questions come at a time when there is increasing evidence that young people want more say over their learning. Therefore, the purpose of this critical ethnographic study is to explore whether dialogue through digital media alters participants' perceptions of power and what are the consequences for young people in terms of equity in their learning and empowerment in the classroom. Using a critical ethnographic approach (through observation of pupils developing their research, observing the learning they recorded and listening to 'respectful conversations) and based on focus groups, interviews undertaken by participants during 'respectful conversations' and research undertaken by pupils, the study focused on whether participants perceived there to be a change in the relationships between teachers and young people, particularly in terms of the power relationships between them. Field notes were used to record observations of young people and staff in classrooms. Results indicated that young people did not perceive themselves as having increased power within the teacher-pupil relationship. However, there was evidence that some pupils transformed the way they thought about learning and teaching and became more confident to ask questions and take more responsibility for their own learning. A group of pupils used this confidence to undertake their own research about learning in their school and use their findings to influence the school improvement plan. They also shared their findings at the 2016 Scottish Education Research Association (SERA) Annual Conference. There was evidence for increased participation in learning when measured against theoretical models of participation. The results of the study have implications for the way teachers engage with young people and use pupil voice to support learning and school improvement. There are also implications for further discussions on the use of the term pupil voice. This study suggests that the terms 'micro-dialogue' and 'macro-dialogue' may be helpful terms to consider using when discussing how to gather young people's views on learning.
Supervisor: Coyle, Do ; Bain, Yvonne Catherine ; White, Robert E. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Teacher-student relationships ; Communication in education ; Students ; Digital media ; Educational technology