A Review of "Putting Students at the Centre in Education Reform."
Meaningful Student Involvement Research Review by Adam Fletcher.
Students argues that in order for
school reform to be effective, students
need to participate in the school
improvement process. A foundation and framework are explored that
engage students in defining, shaping, managing and implementing school
This paper offers a concise,
detailed exploration of the principles and rationale that support
student involvement from a practical perspective that focuses on
progressive activities. After exploring the recent history of student
involvement, the author provides the following arguments for
increasing student involvement:
Effective implementation of change requires
participation and buy-in from all those involved; students no less
Students have unique knowledge and
perspectives that can make reform efforts more successful and
Students’ views can help mobilize staff and
parent opinion in favor of meaningful reform;
Constructivist learning, which is increasingly
important to high standards reforms, requires a more active student
role in schooling;
Students are the producers of school outcomes,
so their involvement is fundamental to all improvement (p3).
Levin explains that the first three are related
to organizational health; the last two have to do specifically with
how learning occurs. He then continues to carefully detail the
diverse literature supporting his arguments by including specific
sources from the areas of education, psychology, sociology and
In a section exploring the role of the student
in school improvement, Levin provides three steps schools should
Involve several students in formal management
Provide training and support students, and;
Ask students to organize their own parallel
process of discussion of change that could bring many more students
into the deliberative process.
Levin makes a special note
that educators should engage students in all grade levels in these
efforts and not limit participation to high school students.
provides a concise,
deliberate rationale for meaningful student involvement while offering
broad resources and diverse thinking for school improvement. The
author situates student voice as a key component
among current education reform practices and literature.
This article is
available online here.