Using learner voice to promote inclusion in Nigeria

Moses Ewa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Learner voice emerged as an aspect of my doctoral research in Nigeria because practices that relate pupil participation affected the ways learner perspectives were included at school. I conducted a multi-site case study involving three public primary schools sited in different rural districts in Nigeria. I employed archival documents, observations and interviews to generate qualitative data from thirty 11-16-year olds who belonged to diverse backgrounds to examine how pupils participate at school. I did thematic analysis of data based on the interpretivist approach. Evidence from data showed teacher voice as being dominant and teachers were pre-allocating classroom air time for pupils across the cases. Also, the learners themselves perceived peers who adopted self-selection process to express their views at lessons as acting in violation of school rules.Learner voice is an initiative that is gaining prominence in educational research as a means to rethink the participation of children in inclusive schools. It is a rights-based approach to acknowledging children as possessing the legitimacy and agency to share their perspectives at school and taking active responsibility for what they are learning and how they are learning it. The engagement of children’s views is a strategy connected to the notion of democratising education and redefining the role of children as active partners in bringing positive change in ways that can eliminate risks to their exclusion and marginalisation at school. Having a voice means to have a say and being heard rather than being subjected to performing actions following what others have prescribed. So, it involves opening up space and minds not just to the sound of the voice but also to the potency of the voice to make a difference at school. However, my research found learner voice as located within school norms and values that are patterned by practitioners and learners themselves. That is linked to the way educators within Nigeria understand inclusion as a concept, and the challenges they face to include the views of children as an alternative strategy to address practices that silence children so as to enable the school meet their needs. What practical measures are there to use learner voice to promote inclusion in Nigeria?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationN/A
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
EventMaking social impact - The University of Manchester, Humanities Bridgeford Street
Duration: 18 May 201518 May 2015

Conference

ConferenceMaking social impact
CityThe University of Manchester, Humanities Bridgeford Street
Period18/05/1518/05/15

Keywords

  • Learner voice, participation, inclusion and school

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