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Westminster Institute of Education Joint GA/HA Primary Conference Who and Where We Are: The Role of Childrens Voices in Geography and History.

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Presentation on theme: "Westminster Institute of Education Joint GA/HA Primary Conference Who and Where We Are: The Role of Childrens Voices in Geography and History."— Presentation transcript:

1 Westminster Institute of Education Joint GA/HA Primary Conference Who and Where We Are: The Role of Childrens Voices in Geography and History

2 Westminster Institute of Education HEARING CHILDRENS VOICES Professor Simon Catling

3 Westminster Institute of Education Are you hearing me? Image of child has been removed for copyright reasons

4 Westminster Institute of Education Being situated: Every child matters The five outcomes Be healthy; Stay safe; Enjoy and achieve; Make a positive contribution; Achieve economic well-being. Make a positive contribution Be an active participant; Have and exercise your voice; Contribute to your own and others development and learning; Be a team player; Take and share responsibility.

5 Westminster Institute of Education Are childrens voices heard? Few schools actively engage children in discussions bout what and how they learn in school. While increasingly schools have School Councils or Eco-management groups, these are focused on out of classroom matters. Many teachers lack confidence about involving children in learning decisions. Some headteachers consider it counterproductive and a potential frustration for children where the core subjects and SATs dominate the need to demonstrate rigour and achievement. Some consider it problematic for childrens behaviour. Where consultation or mutual planning occurs changes pupil voices have enhanced the curriculum, eg avoiding underachievement, reducing boredom, being more focused and studying in depth. Indications are that childrens involvement may be moving ahead faster in the Early Years. Children make almost no reference to geography or history when asked about what they enjoy about the curriculum.

6 Westminster Institute of Education Hearing Childrens Voices Four contexts: Listening purposefully to children and what they say about their world; Observing childrens engagement, responses, actions, body language in the world of learning; Hearing other childrens voices elsewhere in place and time from similar and diverse contexts; Hearing childrens voices literally in the classroom.

7 Westminster Institute of Education 1. Childrens voices here and now From Community Soundings (The Primary Review, 2007): Children have a sense of insecurity in terms of safety in the environment, from such issues as sustainability, climate change and poverty, and from community decline and anti-social activity. Children feel they can contribute where they are actively involved in a project, such as a local improvement scheme. Children develop understanding and knowledge of and affinity with places and the environment: A sense of place – their place; About (constrained) access to and the uses of places and spaces; Of their place in their school place, whose place it really is; About some aspects of the wider world through experience, family and the media.

8 Westminster Institute of Education The view from your Window (Jeannie Baker) Scans from Window by Jeannie Baker (2002) published by Walker Books Ltd These images have been removed for copyright reasons.

9 Westminster Institute of Education Making here a place of my own This image has been removed for copyright reasons

10 Westminster Institute of Education Childrens connections Love, Your Bear Pete by Dyan Sheldon, illustrated by Tania Hurt-Newton (1995) Image from inside book has been removed for copyright reasons.

11 Westminster Institute of Education Childrens voices about their experience of time My life as history: Remembrances of events and feelings; Ideas of time; recent and long ago; Encounters with the more distant past, such as: The Egyptians through stories; The Romans and World War 2 through television media; Visits with family to sites of past time: museums and heritage sites; Living in the past – the streets around home, relics of previous occupancy. Developing sense of sequence, chronology, period character….

12 Westminster Institute of Education Encounters with the disconnected past The copyright holder of this work allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification. SourceSource

13 Westminster Institute of Education Encountering children in war through the media Still from the film Children of Men (2006) removed for copyright reasons.

14 Westminster Institute of Education 2. Listening to childrens voices about their learning This concerns childrens evident or implicit voices: Their engagement through stimulating and motivating activities: Working outside the classroom in the school grounds or in the local area; Making field visits to sites further afield, a river, a museum or a heritage site Observing what childrens involvement is, how they are engaged in their studies: The pupils were naturally curious…They were enthusiastic to find out and began to show some independence in their enquiry skills by asking more questions and examining other items in their everyday life… Recognising childrens active engagement in creating and developing the studies. Through their evaluations of their geography and history topics, what they have learnt and enjoyed or liked less.

15 Westminster Institute of Education 3. Other childrens voices from other places and other times We are interested in our childrens voices about their places and lives now. We recognise the diversity of their voices today. How do we seek the voices of children in other places and in the past? Why is it we listen to Ann Franks voice? Why do we use the voices in the locality packs produced by ActionAid, Oxfam and other NGOs? These are resources and materials available to us? How representative and balanced are they? What is this notion of representative children that we often provide through the limited study time on a period of the past or in investigating life in an Indian or southern African states village community? Are our resources and materials too delicate and in part a cause of the development/reinforcement of stereotypes and bias?

16 Westminster Institute of Education A very cool Gregory Scan from Gregory Cool by Caroline Binch (1997) published by Frances Lincoln. This image has been removed for copyright reasons.

17 Westminster Institute of Education In Bangladesh 2008 This Image has been removed for copyright reasons.

18 Westminster Institute of Education 4. Hearing voices in the classroom In British classrooms, written work tends to be seen to be the only real work and oral activity is viewed as a prelude to such work (now lets write about it) rather than an end in itself. (Robin Alexander, Towards Dialogic Teaching, 2008, 19) A calm, focused class robustly engaged with their tasks, in quiet discussion – analysis, evaluation or decision making – is healthy, but there need not be writing occurring, though writing may be used. The key to high quality work is engagement, active participation in the tasks and the learning, where children are absorbed in their activities. There are a variety of ways to stimulate this, which can be very active, even noisy at times, possibly argumentative, perhaps opinionated, including: Fieldwork and visits Drama Role play and hot seating Enquiry

19 Westminster Institute of Education Childrens voices in two contexts Rubbish and waste – geography & science adding history Year 4 children engaged in a cross-subject project on rubbish and waste in school; A request to bury some paper and plastic wrappers to find out about decomposition; Discovery of pieces of tile, flooring, guttering; Researching the origin of this rubbish into local site history. Playground changes – informal geography Year 6 girls complaining to the deputy head about boys domination of the playground they had to use and requesting access to the other younger childrens playground; Developed into an investigation of uses, attitudes and views; Made proposals for changes in use and access; Evaluation of impact of calmer children returning to class.

20 Westminster Institute of Education Childrens voices in dramatising Boudicca Examining a picture of Celtic village buildings, and having access to reproduction artefacts from such a village; Role playing people in the village, children and adults, with teacher in role; Village meeting interrupted by a Roman messenger who says that Boudicca is an evil and dangerous influence; Villagers discuss what this means and their views; The community learning that Boudicca is to visit (teacher in role); Boudicca enters says what is to happen to fight for freedom; Villagers discuss what Boudicca has said and compare wit the Roam messenger and decide what to do; Out of role children consider the issues and what advice to give Boudicca; Use of Conscience Alley to offer advice individually to her; Children in role to await the Roam attack. Focus on engagement with key aspects of history and citizenship; links to chronology, time period, historical imagination, decision making, conflict resolution (Rainer & Hoodless, Primary History, January, 2008)

21 Westminster Institute of Education Our view locally, at 3 years old

22 Westminster Institute of Education Our Water Project

23 Westminster Institute of Education Ofsted illustrations In a Year 5 lesson, an excellent discussion took place, based on a painting, with a series of questions and answers (projected on a whiteboard), of a rich Victorian mother and child observed from a distance by a poor child. (Ofsted, 2007, 15) …These activities provided them with sufficient detail and understanding of the issues [of possible large-scale housing development locally] to produce their own plan for the new village….The work culminated in pupils preparing for an interview with a local parish councillor to discuss the issues and articulate their views. Good preparation enabled them to put across reasoned arguments. They were very interested in a broad and balanced viewpoint and were able to question and, most importantly, listen to the views of the parish councillor, who was ken to know the views of all the groups in the community… (Ofsted, 2008, )

24 Westminster Institute of Education Roxaboxen Scans from Roxaboxen by Alice Mclerran (2004) published by Simon & Schuster These images have been removed for copyright reasons.

25 Westminster Institute of Education 5. Why hear childrens voices? Children have the right to be heard, as persons and citizens; Children become increasingly aware of the world around and beyond them in place and time and wish to and can articulate their perspectives; Children need contexts in which to develop their contributions and participatory understanding and skills; All societies, particularly democracies, need citizens able to argue, question, challenge, reason, distinguish reason and polemic, recognise diverse viewpoints, present and evaluate cases put to them; Children should be motivated, stimulated and have their attention focused, and the chance to become absorbed in what they do; Children should have their confidence and self-esteem built up; Children learn in an environment of social engagement and interaction; Children are able to participate and make a positive contribution and commitment. Acknowledgement to R. Alexander, Towards Dialogic Teaching, 2008

26 Westminster Institute of Education I should be involved. It is my world too. 40% of the Worlds population are children. This Image has been removed for copyright reasons.

27 Westminster Institute of Education Because I ought to be heard. I am a person and should be shown respect. It is for my – and our – future. This Image has been removed for copyright reasons.

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