Positioning Student Voice in the Classroom: The Postmodern Era


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Virginia Tech


Typically, students have had limited voice in their schooling (Erickson & Schultz,1992). The purposes of this study were to explore the concept of student voice in the elementary school and to develop strategies that develop student voice in the curricula. An elementary school principal and four teachers participated in an action research study that examined and attempted to develop student voice in their classrooms. Acting as a coach, the principal supported the four teachers as they implemented their classroom research on student voice. Four case studies were developed based on artifacts such as journals (student and participant), lesson plans, meetings, surveys and observations. Data were analyzed for emerging themes and compared across cases.Findings indicate that there was a difference in the teachers' emerging understanding and promotion of student voice. These differences were explained on the evolving commonalities being discovered in each case study. First and foremost were the instructional strategies utilized by the participants that engaged the learners and promoted their voice? Next, the organizational structure of the building and classes played an important role. Time and size of classes either promoted or restrained student voice. Finally, the culture of the organization and the belief system of the individual teacher played an important role.



student voice, student culture, postmodernism