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ERIC Number: EJ988677
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0883-0355
Children's Experiences of Democracy, Participation, and Trust in School
Thornberg, Robert; Elvstrand, Helene
International Journal of Educational Research, v53 p44-54 2012
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.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden