Boorman, Georgie, Clarke, Gill and Nind, Melanie
In their own words: the missing voices of girls with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties.
In, Gender and Education Association 7th International Conference, London, UK,
25 - 27 Mar 2009.
Young people, and particularly girls, constructed in the education system as having behavioural, social and emotional difficulties are amongst the most ‘missing voice[s] in research’ (Lloyd & O’Regan, 2000). Although frequently denied a place to speak from, there is much to gain from hearing what the girls have to say about engagement and belonging in education. Indeed, Gitlin (1990: 459) makes the important point that ‘when fully developed, voice is a form of political action’, a protest and a challenge to the oppression of those traditionally disenfranchised from schools.
With this in mind we direct overdue attention to the importance of hearing girls, who are troubled and troubling and deemed ‘doubly deviant’ in their resistance to both school rules and gender-stereotyped norms (Lloyd, 2005), speak about their educational experiences. We argue that participatory research methods can provide meaningful ways for girls to construct their own stories and thereby contribute to a better understanding of those stories and of their educational aspirations. In doing so we draw on our ongoing research with girls who are excluded from mainstream provision and seek ways to support them find and use their voice for educational and social change. Findings from the narrative techniques employed are discussed together with our reflections on the tensions and opportunities for educational change and social transformation inherent in the project.
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