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#PurposedPSI Barcamp – Student Voice May 1, 2011

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD, Inspiration.
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Initiated and facilitated by Peter, the group session centred on how the student voice could contribute to the #purposed debate. An eclectic mix included colleagues representing primary, secondary, independent and maintained schools, together with colleagues from business, enabled the discussion to range far and wide.

Recognising the importance of securing student input into the debate, we quickly acknowledged the possibility that undertaking this exercise might prove rather inimidating for many teachers and/or schools. Students are likely to be forthright and perhaps unguarded in what they say and the outcomes might prove uncomfortable for some. One forum through which student opinion might be enlisted is Facebook and whilst its popularity and ubiquity (at least in older students) might seem appealing, the possibility of releasing a genie gave further cause for concern and this would need to be a route taken only with the greatest care.

Clare shared a simple way she solicited student opinions, asking each of her classes to provide their answers during a lesson plenary. This was done using sticky notes which she kindly brought along and we were privileged to have the chance to read. (Hopefully she’ll get the chance to share these responses more widely later!)

Student responses to #purposed from @dailydenouement

The discussion also ranged beyond student voice to parents and that a shift in mindset might be necessary before many would even begin to consider this a topic open for debate. Many have very fixed (and perhaps narrow?) views concerning the purpose of education; lifting the lid may benefit most from initiating local initiatives within local communities.

Concern was expressed that this might be perceived as one more opportunity for a tokenistic approach to enabling student voice, yet this clearly depends on the way it is approached. The range and depth of the responses Clare’s students provided shows they clearly have opinions; we just need to find ways to allow them to express that in open and meaningful ways.

Discussion courtesy of:
Peter
Clare
John
Lizzie
Mike
Julian

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Comments»

1. Rosie dymond - May 1, 2011

Sounds like a really interesting & balanced discussion. I don’t work in education but have two preschool aged children & want to begin to build a network of other parents & encourage them to think about the purpose of education, armed with lots of information & different ideas. I want to use #purposedpsi as a platform & would be really interested if anyone has any ideas of ways to get this going. I want to base this (initially) around the local primary/junior school my boys will attend (eldest starting in sep 2012) so need to talk with them & start trying to build some, hopefully positive & productive relationships there… Thoughts please! 🙂

2. rosiedymond - May 1, 2011

Sounds like an interesting & balanced discussion. I don’t work in education but have 2 preschool children & I’m really interested in creating a network of parents (physically, on line, bit of both) to think about the purpose of education, armed with lots of resources & ideas & using #purposedpsi as a platform & I’d be really interested if anyone has any ideas how to get this going. I want to base this (initially) around the local primary/junior school my boys will attend (eldest starting sep 2012) & so I want to make links there & hopefully build some positive & productive relationships! Any thoughts enthusiastically received! 🙂

ianinsheffield - May 1, 2011

Thanks for the comment Rosie and it’s fantastic to have the parents constituency represented in the debate. Great that you’re also keen to spread the word and starting within your local community makes perfect sense.

Wonder if you have any pre-existing links there; perhaps friends who already have yound ones at school? They might provide a route in or can point you to existing forums, PTA perhaps. Do you have a connection with or have met any of the staff? Does the school hold any parent/teacher/community meetings you might be able to attend? Do they have a newsletter you might be able to have a slot in? I guess a lot depends on how open their channels of communication are and as we discussed yesterday, how intimidating they might find the notion of #purposed.

However, nothing ventured, nothing gained and it’s got to be worth exploring.

Can’t claim to be familiar with it, but wonder whether for the future MumsNet (http://www.mumsnet.com/) might be worth exploring? Just a thought.


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