London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Developing frameworks for evaluating education and training approaches that encourage professional recognition of children’s participatory rights

Author(s) Clough, N. & Tarr, J.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2010  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship  
Age group -  
This paper reports on a study of part of a higher education and training programme for trainee teachers and for teaching assistants. This strand of the training aims to encourage professional recognition of the entitlement of children as key participants in shaping their learning. The discussions in this report draw on interviews with a small sample of students (5 trainee teachers and 5 practising teaching assistants), half of whom come from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. The study followed the submission of their final assignments on two education and training modules – ‘The Voice of the Learner’ and ‘Global Citizenship for Sustainability, Change and Development’. These modules develop the students’ skills of active learning and critical reflection with respect to conducting personal enquiries into children’s capacity for agency within school settings, their local environment and the wider world. The data derive from the students’ responses to questions about power relations in education and the development of independent learning identities following their own experience of participatory enquiry within the modules. The data begin to portray the students’ differential capacities to understand the significance of children’s own participation as learners in context. To some extent the data take the form of life story accounts. Analysis of the data is informed by a conceptual framework within which ideas about personalised culturally based pedagogies (Freire) and the development of action competence (Jenson & Schnack) are juxtaposed and explored. Findings begin to identify factors which indicate that students’ previous experience and level of intercultural competence may affect their capacity to engage in supporting children and young people’s participation in active learning and reflective citizenship. Freire P (1970) Cultural Action for Freedom XL May/August: Harvard Educational Review Jenson B & Schnack R (1994) ‘Action competence as an educational challenge’ Didaktiske Studier Royal Danish School: Copenhagen. Key words: Participatory rights, Education and training, Learning identities, Power relations

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