Article

Student Participation

Dana L. Mitra

in Education

ISBN: 9780199756810
Published online December 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0066
Student Participation

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A marked growth in student participation research has occurred in the past ten years. As the pressure to equate student outcomes with test scores increases, the broader democratic mission of schools is fading into the background. Rather than students being viewed as actors in the school system, they are typically constructed as part of the problem that needs to be fixed. The characterization of youth in American media tends to represent teenagers as uniformly resistant, rebellious, and determined to isolate themselves from adult-dominated structures. Consistent with this construction, research consistently finds that high school students frequently describe their school experiences as anonymous and powerless. To address this issue, student participation describes the many ways in which youth have opportunities to share in the school decisions that will shape their lives and the lives of their peers. Most often, student participation is focused on youth, who are defined as age 8 to 21. Current student participation efforts rarely resemble the student power efforts of the 1960s and 1970s. During that time, young people demanded the right to expression, due process, peaceful assembly, educational opportunity, and representation on school boards. Current emphasis on student voice fits within present-day contexts of school reform and student assessment by suggesting that educational change will be more successful if students participate. Whereas youth tend to have few opportunities for civic engagement, a growing body of research has examined the potential role of increasing student voice in schools.

Article.  7882 words. 

Subjects: Education ; Organization and Management of Education ; Philosophy and Theory of Education ; Schools Studies ; Teaching Skills and Techniques

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