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Children's experiences of democracy, participation, and trust in school
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education, Teaching and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9233-3862
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6933-5667
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0883-0355, Vol. 53, 44-54 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to investigate children's views and experiences of democracy and pupil participation in relation to everyday school life, and to let their voices be heard on these issues. The data for this paper was derived from two ethnographic research projects conducted in three elementary schools in Sweden. In the classes investigated at two of the three schools, the adults are those who make decisions about school and classroom rules. Pupils are seldom given any opportunity to create, modify or repeal formal rules through open negotiations. In contrast, at the third school, children's influence and their ability to have a say are an important explicit goal for the teachers. Nevertheless, as well as in the two other schools, even in this school with the declared goal of working with democracy in this way, we found obstacles and limitations that counteracted school democracy: (a) discontinuity, (b) the long-term interaction pattern of teacher power and pupil subordination in the school organisation, which in turned encouraged and educated compliance with authority rather than deliberative democratic participation, (c) naive trust in teachers, (d) the school process of suppressing children's voices, and (e) unfair inconsistencies constructed by teachers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 53, 44-54 p.
Keyword [en]
school democracy, student participation, pupil participation, democratic education, citizenship education, school rules, ethnography, values education, moral education
Keyword [sv]
skoldemokrati, elevinflytande, delaktighet, etnografi, värdepedagogik, värdegrund
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-75313DOI: 10.1016/j.ijer.2011.12.010OAI: diva2:505643
Available from: 2012-02-24 Created: 2012-02-24 Last updated: 2016-05-04

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Thornberg, RobertElvstrand, Helene
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