Experiencing ‘inclusion’: A critical and systemic analysis of young people’s voices in English and Greek mainstream secondary schools

Andrew Howes, Anthoula Kefallinou

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Abstract

Despite a growing consensus within the inclusion literature on the power of student voice, the way it is currently positioned in educational processes and systems remains problematic. This article argues that attention to student voice within a systemic analysis can deepen our understanding of young people’s experience of educational systems. It draws on data from a field research study which explored in-depth the inclusive experiences of 12 students in 2 English and 2 Greek secondary schools. Using Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological theory and a critical framework for reflecting on student voice as analytical tools, it examines the interplay between individuals’ accounts of their experience on the one hand, and their characteristics, interactions and environmental systems on the other. It discusses the way these factors shape students’ experiences of a system which is explicitly aiming towards inclusion, by highlighting issues of power and identity as well as contradictions between student and staff perspectives. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that reflecting systematically and critically on student voice provides opportunities for a deeper understanding of the experiences of students in diverse settings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Greece
  • Student voice
  • UK
  • bio-ecological framework
  • inclusion
  • secondary education

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