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Digging deeper : Understanding the power of ‘student voice’
Australian Journal of Education (2016)
  • Sarah Quinn, University of South Australia
  • Susanne Owen, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)
Primary school approaches to student voice and leadership rarely change, despite concerns about manipulation and tokenism. This single case study investigated an approach to student voice and student leadership in an Australian primary school that was very different to a traditional student council. Thematic analysis of school documents and staff and student interviews found that informal pathways, such as daily teacher/student interactions, consultation with students and students collaborating with teachers in learning contributed to elevating the power of student voice in the school community. However, building leadership in a formal program was problematic for staff and students. The disruption of traditional school structures placed primary school students at the forefront of school leadership and teachers and students working together to build a democratic and inclusive learning environment was a greater challenge than anticipated.
  • Student empowerment,
  • Student leadership,
  • Student participation,
  • Primary school students,
  • Educational innovation,
  • Student rights,
  • Student role,
  • Democratic values,
  • Student government,
  • Participative decision making,
  • Student engagement,
  • Power structure
Publication Date
April, 2016
Citation Information
Sarah Quinn and Susanne Owen. "Digging deeper : Understanding the power of ‘student voice’" Australian Journal of Education Vol. 60 Iss. 1 (2016) p. 60 - 72 ISSN: 0004-9441
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