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Using students as observers The processes and practicalities of using students as observers to raise standards in KS5 learning and teaching* Tony Breslin.

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Presentation on theme: "Using students as observers The processes and practicalities of using students as observers to raise standards in KS5 learning and teaching* Tony Breslin."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using students as observers The processes and practicalities of using students as observers to raise standards in KS5 learning and teaching* Tony Breslin Director, Breslin Public Policy Limited Leading and managing an outstanding Sixth Form Improving student guidance, expectations and attainment Central London Friday 24th June, 2011 * This presentation draws on Beyond ‘Student’ Voice: the school or college as a citizenship-rich, human scale and voice-friendly community (Breslin, 2011) published in The Student Voice Handbook (Kidd and Czerniawski, 2011; forthcoming) Emerald, ISBN

2 (Apparent) tensions in the policy agenda Between achievement and inclusion Between increasing fees and widening participation Between ‘civil society’ and formal politics Between ‘factory learning’ and ‘personalisation’ Between promoting participation and active citizenship in (‘Big’) society while appearing to marginalise these things in the curricula and wider lives of schools and colleges

3 A pedagogy for engagement Inwardly inclusive, participative, deliberative Outwardly altruistic, engaged and connected ‘Citizenship-rich’, ‘Inclusion-first’ and ‘Human Scale’ Holistic in purpose (developing students rather than simply teaching subjects) Acknowledges a broader community responsibility Seeks to close the “participation gap”

4 The “Citizenship-rich” Sixth Form Is successful, sustainable and self-recruiting Relates to the student as an engaged learner-citizen rather than simply a disgruntled consumer Operates as a different kind of community and is different in the community, placing a special emphasis on “giving voice” Is demonstrably committed to widening participation Utilises and bridges curricular and extra-curricular spaces as channels for developing the knowledge, skills and dispositions required for effective engagement

5 Student voice: definitions and rationales “Pupil (or student) voice is about pupils (students) having the opportunity to have a say in decisions in school (or in the Sixth Form) that affect them. It entails pupils (students) playing an active role in their education and schooling (learning) as a result of schools (and FE institutions) becoming more attentive and responsive, in sustained and routine ways, to pupils’ (students’) views” David Hargreaves (2004) “We need a vision for schooling and (further and higher) education that involves children (and learners) as shapers of the system …we need to make children (and students) active participants in the discussion, not just recipients of the outcomes… when you place children (and students) in the seats where decisions are made, they take it seriously” Maggie Atkinson (2011)

6 Giving voice: from observation to feedback - practicalities Honing student empathy Reaching beyond the usual suspects (sharing voice) Creating a range of participation and feedback channels Developing participation skills Developing observation skills Honing feedback skills Building feedback loops Preparing colleagues for all of the above

7 Giving voice: from observation to feedback - processes Student as researchers frameworks Students as observers (as young ‘advisers’ or young ‘inspectors’) Students as decision-sharers (as co-interviewers or associate governors) Students as co-teachers (especially in working with prospective sixth formers Students as messengers (through open assemblies, working group participation and giving presentations to leaders and influencers Preparing colleagues for all of the above

8 Beyond student voice – because every voice matters Teaching staff Members of the wider school or college workforce Parent or guardian Neighbourhood and community Employers and civil society

9 Closing Thoughts “…our aim is no less than a change in the political culture of this country, both nationally and locally: for people to think of themselves as active citizens, willing, able and equipped to have an influence in public life…” Professor Sir Bernard Crick (1998) Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools “Employers said they found it increasingly hard to fill graduate vacancies because students fail to match academic achievement with leadership, team-working and communication skills” Alan Milburn ( 2009) Unleashing Aspiration


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