Boorman, Georgina, Nind, Melanie and Clarke, Gill
Seeking educational inclusion and engagement with girls with experiences of disaffection and exclusion: the impact of voice.
In, British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Manchester, UK,
02 - 05 Sep 2009.
Interest in student voice has come to the fore in recent years, stimulated by political concern for the rights of children and young people as well as recognition of them as consumers. Moreover, children and young people are increasingly understood as people with something interesting and worthwhile to say - competent to have an opinion on their lives, learning, participation and engagement (Tangen 2008). For those young people who excluded from (mainstream) education or with a label of behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD), this issue of student voice takes on particular relevance in negotiating access to learning. However, the voice of girls labelled with BESD, and those with experiences of disaffection with, and exclusion from, mainstream learning provision are often hidden, going unheard both in education, and educational research (Osler & Vincent 2003). In this paper, we address the issue of giving voice to girls excluded from mainstream education attending special, girl-only provision. We report on our exploration of finding ways, using digital technologies, to listen as part of formal gathering of the views of stakeholders in the school and in ongoing, informal ways of engaging the girls in curriculum and school development. We particularly attend to how the girls perceive their educational inclusion and exclusion and what they feel works for them. We reflect on the affordances of visual and digital methods and on the core messages of belonging and not belonging through concerns of identity, identification and the relational self enabled via attachments and demonstrated through interaction that we heard in the girls’ accounts.
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