Let Pupils Have Their Say, Research Shows

Article excerpt

Asking pupils what they think about school is one of the most effective ways of improving education, according to a study just completed by a project in the UK's biggest education research initiative, the Teaching and Learning Research Programme.

Jean Rudduck of Cambridge University, co-ordinator of the three-year research project, said, 'Pupils have a lot to say about teaching and learning. They make the most of opportunities to offer ideas to improve learning.

'Being able to talk about learning and teaching - and being taken seriously - helps pupils develop a stronger sense of self-worth. They feel more included in the school's purposes. For the teachers, consulting pupils can improve understanding of how they engage and disengage at school and help build more open and communicative relationships.'

Professor Rudduck and her team worked with 48 primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland and Wales.

Professor Rudduck said, 'There is an increasing emphasis on citizenship skills being taught at school. When pupils are consulted, their planning and communication skills improve and they take more responsibility for their actions.

'Consultation can also help teachers and pupils achieve a more collaborative learning culture in the classroom and the whole school.'

The report finds that pupils who are disengaged or disruptive in class can often give constructive accounts of what makes them switch off. …