A Review of
Works in Education Reform: Putting Young People at the Center"
Meaningful Student Involvement Research Review by Adam Fletcher.
Works is a comprehensive guide to student inclusive
school change that offers a variety of international case studies,
tools, and resources for promoting “youth-centered” school reform.
This guide was created by the International
Youth Foundation with the goal of fostering connectivity between
current school reform beliefs and practices with the growing field of
youth development. What Works provides a summary of current
education reforms taking place around the world, including programs in
Germany, Mexico and the Philippines. The key elements of the studies
how youth-centered school reform was happening in schools; when and
where the reforms took place, and; whom they affected. In the
introduction the authors propose that putting young people at the
center of education reform adds a necessary efficacy to school reform.
Four main research questions are used throughout
What Works to explore
youth-centered education reform:
What is it? What are our hopes
for young people and what are their goals? Readiness for work,
citizenship, family, and lifelong learning are historic goals.
Competence, confidence, character, connections and contribution are
How does it happen? Through
shifts in the practice of education, including safe, supportive and
engaging environments; and changes in instruction and pedagogy.
Where and when? High quality
learning experiences happen in multiple settings, including where
young people live, work, play, and contribute, as well as the
Who? Students, teachers,
administrators, families and community members take new roles in
youth-centered education reform.
The authors then share a series of case studies
that seek to connect the components above by detailing how
youth-centered education reform is happening around the world in a
variety of settings. Youth-centered education reform is thoroughly
explored in a variety of chapters. One exciting chapter is called,
“New Roles for Youth: Youth Engagement and Education Reform.” The
authors examine the ways that the actions, voices and contributions of
students can and do bring about educational change. They detail the
necessity of student engagement in successful schools by proposing
that, ”when youth engagement is made a central principle of pedagogy –
by building choice, voice, active roles, and opportunities to
contribute – the quality of learning improves.”
This important publication substantiates
the efficacy of student inclusive school change by offering a global
perspective absent in many publications. This is an important
contribution to the growing collection of literature supporting
meaningful student involvement.
This publication is