A Review of "The Roles of Youth in Society: A Reconceptualization."
Meaningful Student Involvement Research Review by Adam Fletcher.
Who's Talking Now is the story of a collaborative project that included
researchers, teachers, administrators, students, university professors
and parents who explored how to find out what students think about
school. Seven case studies were conducted that represented the views
of more than 1,000 students from across the nation. The findings
offer a broad palette of information for school reformers, and include
suggestions about including studentsí experiences, ideas, and opinions
in school change.
This collection of
research studies from across the nation offers a compelling backdrop
to current school reform practices. Researchers found that listening
to students can achieve important goals: Saving time for school
leaders by gaining early student commitment and focusing restructuring
work in the right places; Providing valuable lenses for educators to
see whether their reform efforts are successful; Challenging adults to
examine their own assumptions about student learning through the eyes
of students, and; Treating students as responsible agents of change
rather than products of change.
Data-gathering methods focused singularly on
students, and included focus groups, written surveys, individual
interviews, small group interviews, interviews anchored by classroom
observation, videotaping, audiotaping, and note taking. A few cases
engaged students as researchers. The following conclusions were drawn
from the data gathered in the studies:
Students are articulate and aware.
generally give thoughtful, honest answers to questions about their
learning experiences and they are conscious of the restructuring and
reform processes going on in their schools.
Listening to students and acting on what they say is not the norm.
Though teachers and staff were open to hearing what students had to
say, schools were often at a loss about what to do with the data.
are many ways to find out what students think. There are
also many ways to involve students and faculty in the research and
inquiry process, and to integrate the inquiry results into the school
also a section on what researchers learned, organized into the
following topical areas: conducting student-led group interviews,
strategies for recording interviews, maintaining quality research,
involving all stakeholders in data analysis, knowing how and what to
ask students, and sharing the results.
conclude with an outline of methods that schools can use to gather data
from students in a short time frame. The authors also review planning
and preparation, focusing and designing the research, designing
interview methods, collecting and analyzing data, developing feedback,
and using student data for school improvement.
Look Who's Talking
provides necessary support for the inclusion of students in education
reform efforts by detailing a variety of research practices across the
country. As a result, the stories of listening to students
detailed here illustrate that student-inclusive school change can be a
successful, powerful process for all who are involved.
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