Understanding research with children and young people
Understanding research with children and young people

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Understanding research with children and young people

4 The value of children’s and young people’s participation

Remembering the TRREEE principles you learned in the opening video, so far you have been looking at how you need to Trust the children and young people and Respect their ability to share in your research. You know that they have the Right to be fully included in issues that affect their lives, but you also need to be aware of the need to address any Ethical issues as you plan and carry out your research.

Now you are going to concentrate on those last two Es, namely children’s and young people’s Expertise and Experience. Their research can produce findings that surprise adults, and the results can mean that adults have better understandings of children and young people’s experiences and their environments.

Here are two more video clips of the interview with Meera, who is researching with Year 7 (Y7) students. Take notes as you watch and answer the following questions: What methods does she use to record the students’ views? How did these methods demonstrate the students’ expertise? Were they effective? Why/why not? Note your thoughts in the box below.

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Transcript

Interviewer
Can you tell me what difference it made to the children, the young people, to actually have their views listened to?
Meera
So as a part of the process, a lot of the times, I worked with a professor at The Open University, who was teaching alongside of me. And so a lot of the time, with consent, a lot of our lessons were filmed or they were recorded in some way. Students were able to record their ideas in some form, whether in their books or at home. And valuing their voices in different mediums really meant that they felt they were being valued and they were being listened to.
But also when we were creating a space in which they were talking and having those rules and boundaries really being adhered to, they felt they were being listened to there. And I think it’s really important to mention, at that point, before we had these discussions, we were very clear around the classroom rules around talk. And that provided a really safe space for students to bring their own views into the classroom.
Interviewer
And would you do it again?
Meera
Yes. So I’m currently trialling it in a different setup with another class, and I’m looking other ways in which I can encourage children to be researchers in different formats throughout the journal that I’m editor of.
End transcript
 
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Activity 7

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

What methods does Meera use to record the students’ views?

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How did they demonstrate the students’ expertise?

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Were they effective? Why/why not?

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By handing the ‘safe space’ to the students to express their own views, Meera is putting herself in a position to have her own views or preconceptions challenged. If you are an adult planning to carry out some research with children or young people, how do you feel about that? Are you ready to have an open mind? Meera found that her own students were empowered to express their views about communication in the classroom, and this led her to feel that she had gained a great deal, professionally, from her research.

Activity 8

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

Watch Meera now as she talks about what she gained from the research she was carrying out with the Y7s. Think about the last two Es in the TRREEE principles: how are the students demonstrating their expertise? What are they sharing of their own experience?

Download this video clip.Video player: e809_1vid3img_0763_1_s3_act8.mp4
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Transcript

Meera
I learned, from the project, how they viewed certain aspects of my teaching, and how they were learning, and the environments they preferred when it came to learning. And it was really interesting about hearing the range of ways in which they would like to learn and the ways that I hadn’t really considered. So as a teacher, it’s really nice for me to open up a space where students can start to explore those ideas around teaching and learning, given there’s so much emphasis on teaching and learning. But really, you want this perspectives from children, and here we were doing that.
I think it’s really lovely when we have a moment or we have a term within the class where you are dedicating it to how students are learning and asking those questions about their learning. And I think they feel very empowered when they are able to talk about, actually, do you know what? I think this scenario or this environment works when we learn, and learn in this way, or, I think, actually, when we do this, I really learn better in this way. And having those discussions and opening up those questions allows them to feel valued in this teaching and learning process.
End transcript
 
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Expertise:

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Discussion

Meera was able to see the students’ own perspectives on their learning. They were empowered to express a range of ways they would like to learn. They demonstrated their own expertise; they showed how they were experts in their own lives.

Experience:

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Discussion

They began to feel valued in the teaching and learning process. They shared their own experiences and gained experience in researching, too.

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