Democratic experiences for children in an urban primary school?
Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.
Full text available as:
This dissertation is an autoethnographic study recounting my experience of working in an urban primary school between 2008 and 2010. Over a two year period, during which time I was acting headteacher and then principal teacher, I recorded my experiences in a daily journal. My focus was on children, especially children living in areas of challenging socio-economic conditions. Starting with a concern that their school experiences and interactions with adults are undemocratic and unsatisfactory, my focus in this study was to question how democratic schools are for children. From the numerous themes available, I chose to focus on the experience of children through the interactions and relationships in school structures. I consider pressures on staff and the effects of policy on the profession and the impact of these on developing democracy for children. Over eight chapters, a number of themes permeate the dissertation, including relationships and an assessment of how children are viewed in school and in society generally. Children’s treatment in the school environment has barely changed over many decades. This is in direct contrast with freedoms they enjoy outside of school from, for example, their use of information communication technology. The dissertation looks to highlight the challenges that face the teaching profession and the ways in which the pressures associated with education currently conspire against developing democracy for children. I conclude by anticipating possible changes to the status quo that could, if implemented, increase democratic opportunities in schools. Prospects for change include a reassessment of leadership roles, further engagement with Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and the adoption of a more radical educational approach.
Actions (login required)