Kate Stickley's Master's Thesis Project - LIT REVIEW



SECTION I: Examining Key Issues

SECTION II: Re-Constructing the Issues

SECTION III: Conclusions, Possibilities, Challenges, and Topics for Further Investigation

SECTION II: Re-Constructing the Issues

The Second section discusses recent research and action research which supports a theory that reconstruction of educational can occur by using student feedback and student voice.
We are at a critical moment in the history of public education. Privatization and standardization of education is well funded and strongly supported. Opposed to this are proponents of public education which see charter schools and high-stakes testing as mechanisms intended to dismantle public education in America. Part of this debate is the changing role of the teacher in the educational process. This impacts current teachers and their practices as well as pre-service teachers and teaching training organizations.

Teaching Democracy

"To establish a new framework, we need to begin with a frank acknowledgement of the basic humanness and Americanness of each of us. And we must acknowledge as a people - E PLURIBUS UNUM - we are a slippery slope toward economic strife, social turmoil, and cultural chaos. If we go down, we go down together." (West, C. quoted in Schultz)
Compulsory Education was proscribed as a method in which to train children to become educated citizens. This idea is not new. (Dewey) Using student feedback and student voice can to promote democracy primarily through engaging students in the decision making process. "Honest and earnest criticism from those whose interests are mist nearly touched, - criticism of writers by readers, of government by those governed, of leaders by those led, - this is the coil of democracy and the safeguard of modern society."(Du Bois, quoted in Schultz) Used effectively, student feedback and student voice contributes to personal and social education of students, promotion of citizenship and improvement of overall school practices. .

Using Culturally Relevant Teaching Practices

"Childhood "experts" and the mainstream education establishment have often insisted in this academic context that children need to be instructed to follow directions. This functionalist orientation assumes that the order and stability of environments must be maintained (Paul, 1994; Lewis, 1992; Griffin, 1993; Polakow, 1992) This of course, ensures that institutions such as schools become unable to accommodate change, as they regress into a state of "equilibrium," that is, rigidity." (Kinchloe, 1997)

                A broader acceptance of the roles that psychological and sociological issues such as class, gender and race play in the dynamics of individual development and a broader relationship to power also helps to position student feedback and student voice as a critical issue in education. (Howard, 2001, Kinchloe, 1997, Orner, 1992). By combining existing frameworks of assessment, data analysis and standardized testing, the research indicates that student voice may be seen to be enhanced. It is also shown that  self reflective teachers add constructive and effective practices to their practice and students are emboldened to work as researchers to come up with solutions to problems.

Redefining Teaching

"There are two barriers to achieving the goal of developing democratic classroom teachers. First, preservice teachers need to develop attitudes and beliefs that democratic practice is important (Davis, 2003; Kincheloe, 2004; Parker, 1996b; Pryor, 200), but we do not know when or how this development occurs (Soder, 1996). Second, there is no consensus as to the idea program for preparing democratic teachers (Goodlad, 1996)." (Pryor)

            Many programs and studies have been and are being developed attempting to use student voice and student feedback to transform education. (Howard, 2001, Kinchloe, 1997, Orner, 1992) By including children in the decision making process, the educational dialogue is informed by students themselves who seen to hold valuable insights, not only regarding themselves and their teachers, also in regard to their school, to the community, and to society. (Kinchelow, 1997)

Rethinking Teacher Pre-Service Training

"One goal of teacher preparation programs has been the development of teachers who can prepare the students in their classrooms to become effective citizens in a democratic society (Darling-Hammond, 1994; Parker, 1996b; Soder, 1996). (Pryor)

            By including student feedback and student voice, it is possible to gain new perspectives and additional data so that the narrative landscape of education is transformed. (Howard, 2001, MITRE, 2006) By shifting the paradigm from monolithic authoritarianism (Kincheloe, 1997) to one of interdependent independence, it is possible the focus of education from rigid dogmatism toward consensus building, development of critical thinking skills and individual enfranchisement. "Although constructivist models of learning, critical and feminist pedagogies, and other counter hegemonic approaches have counteracted in some teacher education programs the traditional emphases on prospective teacher learning to be the only ones in the classroom in charge and in control of procedures and content, many classrooms are still run according to individualistic, instrumental, and undemocratic principles (see Fielding 199 for a critique of these principles). (Cook-Sather, 2006)

Reexamining Roles of Teachers and Students

"At its best and in the right circumstances, Students as Researchers is a ‘boundary practice’, a practice which encourages us to break out of pre-existing moulds and shape the world together in ways that affirm what we wish to become, rather than one that reminds us of what others wish us to remain. (’Fielding & Bragg, 2003, p 55)"

            As Charlotte Danielson observes, "If we want teacher evaluation systems that teachers find meaningful and from which they can learn, we must use processes that not only are rigorous, valid and reliable, but also engage teachers in those activities that promote learning.  - namely self assessment, reflection on practice, and professional conversation." (Danielson, 2011)
In order for students voices heard, teachers and educators need to create frameworks which incorporate representations of student feedback and student voice. Cornell West poses the question: "What is to be done? How do we capture a new spirit and vision to meet the challenges of the post-industrial city, post modern culture, and post party politics? First we must admit that the most valuable sources for help, hope, and power consist of ourselves and our common history." (West, C. quoted in Schultz) In order to hear student voice, the parameters of investigation need to be broadened to use more critical thinking and listening skills.
As a result students participate in their own education and educators are made aware of problems and ideas that are child identified and that would never be known if not from children's self reporting. Or a child said it, "I like her because she is not a regular teacher. She's funny, and she entertains us, and I like when she uses our names in the story. It makes it seem like we are people in the story." (Howard 2001)

Investigating Ontological Voices

"In their seven principles for good feedback, Nicola and Macfarlane-Dick (2006) support students as self-regulatory learners who are proactive, rather than reactive in their response to feedback. Pryor and Crossouard (2008) position the role of feedback within a formative assessment model that not only considers content of learning but also allows for critical considerations of learning as a wider processes of becoming." (Richardson, 2001)

            "The concept of student voice may be anatomized into three distinct "constituent elements,: an epistemological voice, or a voice for knowing, a practical voice or a voice for doing, and an ontological voice, or a voice for becoming. " (Batchelor, 2006) By investigating the ontological voice, focus is shifted from using student voice to identify groups, to using student voice to promote individual awareness. The primary assumption is that that "an ontological voice is fundamental to the two other voices." (Batchelor, 2006)
By searching even deeper, and looking for existing models of education that are concerned with culturally relevant teaching practices, the distinctions of class, race, gender and otherness are explored. (Howard, 2001, Kinchloe, 1997, Orner, 1992) "In his landmark philosophical work on the nature of human relations, Martin Buber (1970) distinguishes between two forms of human interaction - the "I-It" relationship and the I-Thou" relationship. When we categorize and classify a person into abstract constraints, we dehumanize him or he, creating an "I-It" relationship. In contrast, when we acknowledge the nuance and complexity of the other person, we enter into an "I-Thou" relationship. (Nichols, 2012)
This model suggest that education becomes fluid and dynamic. The role of teachers and students are expanded to include experts and co-learners and learning occurs with multidirectionality. (Cashin, 1998)