Power, Participation and Decision Making in the Primary Classroom: Children as Action Researchers

Dec. 06, 2009

Source: Educational Action Research, Volume 16, Issue 4 December 2008 , pages 457 – 468

This article discusses a project focused on children researching their role in decision making in their classrooms and schools, with a view to increasing their involvement.

The action research project was carried out by children, their class teachers and university researchers in six Norfolk primary schools from 2004 to 2006. As the project aimed to introduce more participatory approaches to decision making in classrooms, this necessarily had implications for the ways in which adults worked with children as action researchers.

The article explores the constraints encountered by both children and teachers in sharing decisions and in carrying out action research. It identifies two dimensions: the teachers' thinking and action, as well as children's research and decision making. The teachers struggled with their need to mediate the project aims in the context of the changing nature of their professional role in the current target-driven school culture.

Updated: Dec. 14, 2008