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Better than a professional? Students as co-contributors to educational design

Josie Roberts and Rachel Bolstad

NZCER’s Families and Communities Engagement (FACE) project investigated ideas and practices involved in bringing together teachers, families, local communities and students to contribute to collective conversations and decisions about education.

This report concerns a sub-project of FACE that aimed to develop and research a process to engage small groups of secondary students in becoming critical and informed contributors to curriculum and education design. We developed workshops to support small groups of students (mostly in Years 9 and 10) in two girls’ schools to undertake small-scale research on their own and/or others’ views and experiences about learning and school.

When given the opportunity to discuss big-picture curriculum ideas and undertake critical close readings of The New Zealand Curriculum, students could begin to articulate how these did or did not match their own experiences or those of others, including their fellow students, teachers and their family members. Students also recognised some of the key dilemmas that educators and policy makers grapple with. Students in both schools presented their findings at a range of forums, where students could also discuss their views, answer questions and pose suggestions to teachers and school leaders, family members and other students.

This project provided important learning for the NZCER FACE project, and hopefully both of the schools involved as they continue—or embark on—establishing learning communities designed to engage students as co-contributors to education design.

Families and communities engagement in education (FACE)
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Publication type: 
Research report
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Josie Roberts