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Dimensions of student participation: participatory action research in a teacher education context

This thesis investigated the extent to which participation of school students in decision-making processes can be achieved, including through participatory action research (PAR) in teacher education.

Ben Smit
06 September 2023
Fulltext in Leiden University Scholarly Publications

Data were collected from observations, research reports of pre-service teachers (PSTs) and interviews with PSTs and teacher educators. The aim was to enable students-teacher collaboration at an intensive level and have real influence on changes in teaching practice. The study found that some PST-projects exhibited the first stages of development towards this goal and that student participation was possible within limited time frames and contexts. School students were involved in designing and implementing the research projects, and they thereby contributed to changes in the content of their teaching and learning or in their circumstances. The study also highlighted the need for a higher level of student participation than just having a voice and being able to express opinions.The study developed a matrix for describing and designing participatory research practices (the SPinSTAR matrix), which distinguishes four levels of participation during different research phases. Furthermore, the study provided a set of principles for PAR that can provide more detailed insights into the participatory qualities of practices and the intertwined mechanisms that influence student participation.

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