Student Voice: An Emerging Discourse in Irish Education Policy


Domnall FLEMING


Abstract

In positioning student voice within the Irish education policy discourse it is imperative that this emergent and complex concept is explored and theorized in the context of its definition and motivation. Student voice can then be positioned and critiqued as it emerged within Irish education policy primarily following Ireland’s ratification of the United Nations Charter on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1992. Initially emerging in policy from a rights-based and democratic citizenship perspective, the student council became the principal construct for student voice in Irish post-primary schools. While central to the policy discourse, the student council construct has become tokenistic and redundant in practice. School evaluation policy, both external and internal, became a further catalyst for student voice in Ireland. Both processes further challenge and contest the motivation for student voice and point to the concept as an instrument for school improvement and performativity that lacks any centrality for a person-centered, rights-based, dialogic and consultative student voice within an inclusive classroom and school culture.


Keywords

Student voice, Student council, Evaluation, Performativity, Citizenship

Paper Details

Paper Details
Topic Irish Education
Pages 223 - 242
Issue IEJEE, Volume 8, Issue 2, Special Issue: Contemporary Irish Education
Read (times) 686
Downloaded (times) 402

Author(s) Details

Domnall FLEMING

The Weir Centre, Ireland


References

Alderson, P. (2000). School students’ views on school councils and daily life at school. Children and Society, 14 (2), 121-134.

Arnot, M. and Reay, D. (2007). A Sociology of Pedagogic Voice: Power, inequality and pupil consultation. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 28, 311-325.

Arnot, M., McIntyre, D., Pedder, D. and Reay, D. (2004). Consultation in the Classroom: developing dialogue about teaching and learning. Cambridge: Pearson Publishing.

Ball, S. (ed.) (1990). Foucault and Education: Disciplines and Knowledge. London: Routledge.

Bragg, S. (2001). Taking a joke: learning from the voices we don’t want to hear. Forum, 43, 70-73.

Bragg, S. (2007). Consulting Young People: a review of the literature. London: Arts Council England.

Chadderton, C. (2011). Not capturing Voices: A poststructural critique of the privileging of voice in research. In Czerniawski, G. and Kidd, W. (eds.), The Student Voice Handbook: Bridging the Academic / Practitioner Divide. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.

Chapman, J. (1970a). The origins and development of school councils. New Era, 51(8), 268-279.

Children in Scotland (2010). Having a Say at School and Research on Pupil Councils in Scotland. Research briefing paper 1: Local authorities and pupil councils.

Connolly, P. (1997). In search of authenticity: researching young children’s perspectives. In Pollard, A., Thiessen, D. and Filer, A. (eds.), Children and Their Curriculum: the Perspectives of Primary and Elementary School Children. London: The Falmer Press.

Cook-Sather, A. (2006). Sound, Presence, and Power: “Student Voice” in Educational Research and Reform. Curriculum Inquiry, 36, 359-390.

Crick, B. (1998). Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools: final report of the Advisory Group on Citizenship. Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (UK).

Dahlberg, G., Moss, P. and Pence, A. (1999). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Postmodern perspectives. London: Falmer Press.

Democracy Commission (2005). The Report of the Democracy Commission: Engaging Citizens: The Case for Democratic Renewal in Ireland.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs, (2014). The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 – 2020. Dublin.

Department for Education and Skills (DfES, UK) (2004). A National Conversation about Personalised Learning.

Department for Children, Schools and Families (DfCSF, UK) (2008). Working together: Listening to the voices of children and young people.

Department of Education and Science (DES) (1995). Civic Social and Political Education Syllabus. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

Department of Education and Science (DES) (2002). Student Councils: a voice for students. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

Department of Education and Science (DES) (2003). Looking at our School: A guide to school self-evaluation in post-primary schools. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

Department of Education and Science (DES) (2004). Whole-School Evaluation in Post-Primary Schools: Guidelines for Schools. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

Department of Education and Skills (DES) (2011a). A Guide to Whole School Evaluation – Management, Leadership and Learning. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

Department of Education and Skills (DES) (2011b). Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

Devine, D. (2001). Locating the child's voice in the primary school. In Cleary, A., Nic Ghiolla Phádraig, M. and Quin, S. (eds.), Understanding Children: State, Education and Economy. Cork: Oaktree Press.

Devine, D. (2002). Children’s citizenship and the structuring of adult/child relations in the primary school. Childhood, 9, 303-321.

Devine, D. (2003). Children, Power and Schooling: How childhood is structured in the primary school. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.

Devine, D. (2004). School matters - listening to what children have to say. In Deegan, J., Devine, D. and Lodge, A. (eds.), Primary Voices: Equality, Diversity, and Childhood in Irish Primary Schools. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration.

Devine, D. (2009). Mobilising capitals? Migrant children's negotiation of their everyday lives in school. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30, 521-535.

Durr, K. (2004). Education for Democratic Citizenship 2001-2004. The School: A Democratic Learning Community. The All-European Study on Pupils’ Participation in School. Council of Europe Publishing.

Dworkin, G. (1977). Taking Rights Seriously. London: Duckworth.

Education Act (1998). Dublin: Government Publications.

Education Act (2002). London: UK Government.

Ellsworth, E. (1989). Why doesn’t this feel empowering? Working through repressive myths of critical pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 59 (3), 297-324.

Fielding, M. (2001). Beyond the rhetoric of student voice: new departures or new constraints in the transformation of 21st century schooling. Forum, 43, 100-110.

Fielding, M. (2004). New wave’ student voice and the renewal of civic society. London Review of Education, 2, 197-217.

Fielding, M. (2007). The human cost and intellectual poverty of high performance schooling: radical philosophy, John MacMurray and the remaking of person-centred education. Journal of Education Policy, 22(4), 383-409.

Fielding, M. (2011). Student voice and the possibility of radical democratic education: re-narrating forgotten histories, developing alternative futures. In Czerniawski, G. and Kidd, W. (eds.), The Student Voice Handbook: Bridging the Academic / Practitioner Divide. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.

Fielding, M. and McGregor, J. (2005). Deconstructing student voice: new spaces for dialogue or new opportunities for surveillance? Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Montreal, Canada.

Fleming, D. (2013). Student Voice in Irish Post-Primary Schools – A Drama of Voices. University College Cork, Unpublished PhD thesis.

Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Random House.

Freeman, M. (1987). Taking Children’s rights seriously. Children and Society, 4, 299-319.

Freeman, M. (1996). Children’s education; a test case for best interests and autonomy. London: Fulton.

Gore, J. (1993). The struggle for pedagogies: Critical and feminist discourses as regimes of truth. London: Routledge.

Government of Ireland (1995). Charting our Education Future: White Paper on Education. Dublin: Government Publications.

Granville, G. (2004). Politics and partnership in curriculum planning in Ireland. In Sugrue, C. (ed.), Curriculum and Ideology: Irish Experiences International Perspectives. Dublin: The Liffey Press.

Hargreaves, D. (2004). Personalising Learning 2: Student voice and Assessment for Learning. London: Specialist Schools Trust.

Huddleston, T. (2007). Effective practice in democratic school governance in European schools. London: Citizenship Foundation.

Inspectorate (2012). School Self-Evaluation: Guidelines for Post-primary Schools. Dublin: Department of Education and Skills.

Kelly, A. V. (1995). Education and Democracy: Principles and Practices. London: Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.

Keogh, A, and Whyte, J. (2005). Second level Student Councils in Ireland: A study of enablers, barriers and supports. Dublin: The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin.

Kilbourne, S. (1998). The wayward Americans—why the USA has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 10, 243-256.

Lodge, A., Devine, D. and Deegan, J. (2004). Equality, diversity and childhood in Irish primary school. In Deegan, J., Devine, D. and Lodge, A. (eds.), Primary Voices: Equality, Diversity, and Childhood in Irish Primary Schools. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration.

Lodge, C. (2005). From hearing voices to engaging in dialogue: problematizing student participation in school improvement. Journal of Educational Change, 6, 125-146.

Lodge, C. (2008). Student Voice and Learning-focused School Improvement. Research Matters, 32, 2-15.

Lundy, L. (2007). 'Voice’ is not enough: conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. British Educational Research Journal, 33, 927-942.

Lynch, K. and Lodge, A. (2002). Equality and Power in Schools: Redistribution, recognition and representation. London: Routledge Falmer Associates.

MacNaughton, G. (2003). Shaping Early Childhood: Learners, Curriculum and Contexts. Berkshire: Open University Press.

Marshall, J. D. (1990). Foucault and Educational Research. In Ball, S. (ed.), Foucault and Education: Disciplines and Knowledge. London: Routledge.

McCowan, T. (2011). Political Learning through the Prefigurative: The case of the Brazilian Landless Movement. In Czerniawski, G. and Kidd, W. (eds.), The Student Voice Handbook: Bridging the Academic / Practitioner Divide. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.

McLoughlin, O. (2004). Citizen child – the experience of a student council in a primary school. In Deegan, J., Devine, D. and Lodge, A. (eds.), Primary Voices: Equality, Diversity, and Childhood in Irish Primary Schools. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration.

Mitra, D. (2001). Opening the floodgates: giving students a voice in school reform. Forum, 43, 91-94.

Mitra, D. (2003). Student voice in school reform: Reframing student-teacher relationships. Magill Journal of Education, 38, 289-304.

Mitra, D. (2004). The significance of students: can increasing" student voice" in schools lead to gains in youth development? Teachers College Record, 106, 651-688.

Mitra, D. (2007). Student voice in school reform: From Listening to Leadership. In Thiessen, D. and Cook-Sather, A. (ed.), International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School. New York: Springer.

National Children's Strategy (2000). Dublin: Government Publications.

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), (2009). Politics and Society: Draft Syllabus for Consultation. Dublin.

National Education Convention Secretariat (1994). Report on The National Education Convention.

Nieto, S. (1994). Lessons from students on creating a chance to dream. Harvard Educational Review, 64, 392-426.

Northern Ireland Assembly (2011). School councils. Research and Information Service Research Paper.

Noyes, A. (2005). Pupil voice: purpose, power and the possibilities for democratic schooling. British Educational Research Journal, 31, 532-540.

Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA), (2011). An Audit of Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making Structures. Dublin.

O’Gorman, A. (1998). Student Councils - Why bother? Issues in Education, 3, 183-187.

Reay, D. (2006). I’m not seen as one of the clever children: Consulting primary school pupils about the social conditions of learning. Educational Review 58, 171-181.

Referendum Commission (2012). The Children Referendum: www.referendum 2012.ie.

Rose, R. and Shevlin, M. (2010). Count me in! Ideas for Actively Engaging Students in Inclusive Classrooms. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Rudduck, J. (2005). Pupil voice is here to stay! Qualifications and Curriculum Authority QCA. (UK).

Rudduck, J. (2006). The past, the papers and the project. Education Review, 58, 131-143.

Rudduck, J. (2007). Student voice, student engagement and school reform. In Thiessen, D. and Cook-Sather, A. (eds.), International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School. New York: Springer.

Rudduck, J. and Flutter, J. (2000). Pupil Participation and Pupil Perspective: `carving a new order of experience’. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1), 75-89.

Rudduck, J. and Flutter, J. (200). How to improve your school: Giving pupils a voice. London: Continuum.

Shevlin, M. and Rose, R. (2003). Recognising Voices. In Shelvin, M. and Rose, R. (eds.), Encouraging Voices: respecting the insights of young people who have been marginalised. Dublin: National Disability Authority.

SooHoo, S. (1993). Students as partners in research and restructuring schools. The Educational Forum, 57, 386-393.

Taylor, C. and Robinson, C. (2009). Student voice: Theorising power and participation. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 17(2), 161-175.

Thiessen, D. (2007). Researching Student Experiences in Elementary and Secondary School: An Evolving Field of Study. In Thiessen, D. and Cook-Sather, A. (eds.), International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School. New York: Springer.

Thomson, P. (2011). Coming to terms with voice. In Czerniawski, G. and Kidd, W. (eds.), The Student Voice Handbook: Bridging the Academic / Practitioner Divide. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.

Towards 2016 (2006). Ten-Year Framework Social Partnership Agreement 2006-2016. Dublin: Government Publications.

Trant, A. and Ó Donnabháin, D. (1998). The Way Forward. City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee Curriculum Development Unit.

United Nations (1992). United Nations Charter on the Rights of the Child.

Welsh Assembly Government (2005). The School Councils (Wales) Regulations.

Welsh Assembly Government (2009). School Councils in Wales.

Whitty, G., and Wisby, E. (2007). Real Decision Making? School Councils in Action. Institute of Education, University of London.

Wyse, D. (2001). Felt Tip Pens and School Councils: Children's Participation Rights in Four English Schools. Children and Society 15, 209-218.