15 SES 05, The Notion of Partnership: Case Study I
Parallel Paper Session
The perspective of governance research (cf. Altrichter, Maag Merki 2010) conceives students as co-actors of school development. The Sparkling Science project ”(Do) students develop school!?“ allows to examine the contribution of secondary school students to the formation and development of schools. In this project students actively take part in two ways: as researchers and as experts of their living environment (Altrichter 2010).
The entire project was made up of seven modules. This paper is based on two of them. In the first module the current state of “student-participation” in one of the partner schools was examined. Central issues were to find out (Bacher, Wetzelhütter 2011):
- where (possibilities of participation),
- how (form or structure of participation)
- and to which extent (dimension of participation) students are able to get involved and have a say in school life?
At the same time, the research team was interested
- how the possibilities of participation are used,
- and which consequences are seen?
For these purposes a questionnaire was developed on the basis of the results of a prior project module (Langer, Gamsjäger 2011) and of extant instruments: E.g. several items measuring participation were adopted from Bacher, Winklhofer, Teubner (2007). A central task was to create an instrument to be able to measure the dimensions of participation according to Hart’s „ladder of participation” (Hart 1992: 8f.).
The main results of the project’s module may be summarized as follows (Bacher, Wetzelhütter 2011):
- Students are unsure about their formal and informal rights of participation.
- Student participation is mainly mediated through good relationships to staff members.
- Students report both a medium degree of participation and of satisfaction with the participation.
The results were presented at the partner school to students and teaching staff by the involved students. As a consequence, the students’ awareness with respect to issues of participation increased and resulted in a more active involvement at the election of the school representatives (see local newspaper article: OÖN 2012).
In a second research module the voting behavior of students with respect to class and school representatives was collaboratively examined with another student group of a second partner school. Thereby, the students’ perception of and involvement in school participation was to be expanded. In detail, we will analyze the participation options, motivations and gender based differences.
In summary, the proposed paper will i) discuss experiences and conditions of involving in social research, ii) examine relevant aspects of student participation and iii) analyze the voting behavior of the students.
Altrichter H. / Maag Merki, K. (2010): Handbuch Neue Steuerung im Schulsystem. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. Altrichter, H. (2010) SchülerInnen entwickeln Schule?! SchülerInnen und SchülervertreterInnen als Ko-Akteure der Schulentwicklung, Schulgestaltung und Schulsystemreform. Linz: Projektantrag an das BMWF. Bacher, J. / Wetzelhütter D. (2011): Mitbestimmung von Schüler/innen in der Schule – die Perspektive der Schüler/innen des BRG, Linz Fadingerstraße. Unpublished research report. Bacher, J. / Winklhofer, U. / Teubner, M. (2007): Partizipation von Kindern in der Grundschule. In: Alt, Chr. (Hg.): Kinderleben – Start in die Grundschule. Band 3: Ergebnisse aus der zweiten Welle. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. S. 271-299. Hart, R. A. (1992): Children’s Participation. From Tokenism to Citizenship. Innocenti Essays, No. 4. Florence: UNICEF, United Nations Children’s Fund. OÖN, Oberösterreichische Nachrichten (2012) An der Fadingerschule sollen Schüler künftig mehr mitbestimmen dürfen. Available at: http://www.sparklingscience.at/de/projekte/475-sch-ler-innen-entwickeln-schule-/news, dl. 28.01.2012. Langer, R. / Gamsjäger, M. (2011) Modulbericht 1. Rollenkonzeptionen, Aufgabenwahrnehmung und erlebte Schwierigkeiten von Schülervertreter/innen. Projektbericht im Rahmen des Sparkling Science Projekts „Schüler/innen entwickeln Schule?!“ Linz: Johannes Kepler Universität (JKU).
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