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ERIC Number: ED493972
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 303
Abstractor: Author
Voices and Empowerment in a Democratically-Constructed Elementary School Classroom: A Participatory Action Research Study of Our Beliefs
Rogan, Robert Patrick
Online Submission
Democratic education is a learning approach that encourages and respects the voices of students. Unfortunately, much of the research on student empowerment and democratic education utilizes antiquated techniques that are researcher driven and disempowering to the objects of their study, the children. The current research incorporated a participatory action research design to study the impact democratic education would have on three elementary age students' beliefs about power in the classroom. As co-researchers, the students had dual roles as participants and researchers in the study of their own beliefs as well as the beliefs of others. During the process, the participant researchers decided to utilize reflexive photographic narratives, kinetic drawings, and transcripts of projective technique interviews as the primary sources of data. It was believed that these methodological choices were situated within the locus of control of those being studied, the children, instead of those doing the studying, the adults. During the initial visits with the data, the researchers coded, recoded, and eventually wrote memos about possible truths that were unearthed through the constant comparative method of analysis. In turn, these truths spawned the birth of the final data sources; four specific narrative stories that attempted to "make sense" of the daily interactions of the students and teacher in a democratic classroom. The findings suggested that democratic education is a viable alternative to the current traditionally-based teaching approaches current utilized in many schools. The findings also indicated that the current researcher driven methodological approaches for data collection often result in the misinterpretation of the student's beliefs. Further research needs to be undertaken to determine if extended experiences with democratic education result in enduring changes in the student's beliefs about power in the classroom. Appended are: (1) Parent and Student Consent Forms; and (2) Democratic Education Scales and Attribute Chart. (Contains 2 tables.) [Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Georgia at Athens.]
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A