Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Publication
    Student Voice and Children’s Rights: Power, Empowerment, and “Protagonismo”
    (Springer Nature, 2019-05-29)
    All children have a right to speak out and be heard on all matters affecting their education. Adults have a duty not just to listen, but to give due weight to the views expressed. As participation is a human right, it does not have to be justified by reference to proven benefits. However, there is a growing body of research evidence to show that it indeed brings many and varied benefits to children and schools.
  • Publication
    Approaches to Youth Participation in Youth and Community Work Practice: a Critical Dialogue
    (Youth Workers' Association, 2020-08-31) ; ; ; ;
    Participation, and the inclusion of young people in decisions that affect them, is important to professional youth and community work practice (Smith 1983, 1988; Jeffs & Smith 1987; Irving, Maunders & Sherrington 1995; Harrison & Wise 2005; Ord 2007; Wood & Hine 2009; Batsleer & Davies 2010; Sapin 2013; Corney 2014a, 2014b). However, application of the concept is contested (Farthing, 2010, 2012) and, as Smith (1983) has warned, participation, while central to youth work, has not been well understood. Ord (2007) goes further to suggest that understanding what is meant by participation is crucial to good youth and community work practice.
  • Publication
    Incidencia de niños, niñas y adolescentes como ciudadanos/as activos/as en Nicaragua
    En este documento presentamos los resultados de un proyecto de investigación realizado en sociedad por el Centro de Servicios Educativos en Salud y Medio Ambiente, CESESMA, y la Universidad del Norte de Nicaragua, UNN, en el marco del programa "Ciudadanía Activa en Centro América", con el fin de encontrar respuestas a las siguientes cuatro preguntas claves: 1. ¿Cuáles son las condiciones que favorecen la incidencia política de niños, niñas y adolescentes? 2. ¿Cuáles son los espacios o modalidades de organización y participación que propician la incidencia de niños, niñas y adolescentes como ciudadanos/as activos/as? 3. ¿Cuáles son las estrategias de intervención y las metodologías de facilitación que nos conducen al éxito en la promoción de incidencia política de niños, niñas y adolescentes? 4. ¿Cuáles son los obstáculos que tenemos que enfrentar y cómo los han superado?
  • Publication
    Claiming the right to quality education in Nicaragua
    Education rights can be thought of as comprising rights to, in, and through education. The idea of quality in education is bound up with all three. On returning to power in 2007, the Nicaraguan Sandinista government outlawed all charges for public schools. This made education free of charge (though not free of costs) and represented significant progress toward fulfilling the right to education. However, with no corresponding budget increase, this move failed to address the issue of quality, so that rights in and through education were still major issues.
  • Publication
    Why the playworker’s mind-set is ideal for research with children: Child researchers investigate education rights in Nicaragua
    (Routledge, 2017-07-18)
    This chapter draws on my experience as a PhD researcher investigating children’s perceptions of human rights in school in Nicaragua’s coffee-growing zone to claim that, for a researcher such as myself coming from a playwork background, the ability to hold on to a playworker mind-set offers a distinct advantage when it comes to doing research in partnership with children. To develop this argument, I return to my playwork roots in England in the 1970s, and recount how from those roots grew the Article 31 Children’s Consultancy Scheme in the late 1990s, then how in 2001 I took these ideas with me to Nicaragua, where they gradually developed into the research methodology now known as “Transformative Research by Children and Adolescents” (TRCA). The TRCA approach is introduced, showing how its epistemology, values and methods reflect its playwork-inspired origins, and how it has subsequently developed through practice. I used TRCA as the main research methodology in my 2012-15 doctoral research project, where I obtained striking (and unexpected) findings on children’s perceptions about their right to play. The chapter concludes with a reflection on how my ability to hold on to a deeply-rooted playworker mind-set was a factor in making such findings possible. It also explores how this playworker mind-set may be advantageous for other researchers seeking to cut through the preconceptions and prescriptions of the adult professional world to engage more fully with children’s ways of thinking, and so get closer to a real understanding of children’s own experiences, perceptions and agendas.
  • Publication
    Children's Rights in School: The perception of children in Nicaragua
    (Queen's University of Belfast. School of Education, 2016-07)
    For the many thousands of children in poor countries who drop out of school and so lose out on the life-chances that education might offer them, the notion of a ‘right to education’ has little meaning. Poverty and child labour are contributing factors, but for many children lack of respect for their rights in education is also a major problem. While current ‘whole-school approaches’ to children’s rights seem promising, failure to address underlying problems reduces their effectiveness. This thesis explores how children and adolescents in Nicaragua’s coffee sector perceive their human rights in school, providing insights that can contribute to the development of effective human-rights-based approaches to schooling, particularly in poor countries where the right to go to school must itself be claimed and defended. To come as close as possible to understanding how children themselves perceive their rights in school and the issues that concern them, the adult researcher worked in partnership with a team of child researchers in Nicaragua. The use of a distinctive methodology known as ‘Transformative Research by Children and Adolescents’ generated additional knowledge regarding the development of productive and ethical partnerships between child and adult researchers. The child researchers were facilitated in developing and carrying out a research project using qualitative interviews to address the above issues, including producing and publishing their own report; while the adult researcher gathered background information from parents, teachers and other adult informants. With the young researchers’ approval, their original data was subjected to a more thorough thematic analysis, which was compared with their own analysis. Four main themes emerged: (1) Developing positive human relations is funda¬mental for a rights-respecting school; (2) Students see some forms of behaviour management as rights violations, for example depriving them of playtime as punishment; (3) Lack of attention to the complex relationship(s) between rights and responsibilities has led to confusion and misunderstandings; (4) The child’s right to be heard was not an important issue for the children in this research, which raises questions for adult researchers inter¬ested in this topic. The main implications of the study are: highlighting the need for a rights-based approach to human relations in schools, particularly for dealing with behaviour issues; identifying the need for a more coherent and consensual pedagogy around children’s rights and responsibilities; and helping adult and child researchers develop more effective and productive partnerships.
  • Publication
    An Analytical Tool to Help Researchers Develop Partnerships with Children and Adolescents
    (Information Age, 2019)
    All researchers whose research involves children and adolescents have decisions to make about how and when to engage with those involved in and/or affected by their research; who to engage with and who to leave out. This paper offers a tool that researchers can use to help them address these issues in a purposeful and ethical way. The paper discusses earlier work on child-rights-based approaches to research which influenced the approach taken here. However the main inspiration for the proposal was the author’s own research with children working on coffee plantations in Nicaragua; in particular the Transformative Research by Children and Adolescents methodology that was used, and the critical reflection on method¬ology prompted by this experience. The tool is presented as a matrix which can be used for planning and designing, as well as evaluating research. It seeks to foster coherent critical thinking around three related dimensions: At what stage in a research process should researchers seek to engage with children and adolescents? What type of engagement is appropriate, particularly in relation to the sharing of decision-making power? And finally who is included in the process and who is excluded? The matrix is used to carry out a reappraisal of a recent research project by the author, showing how this analysis can shed light on a number of issues that might not otherwise be given sufficient attention.
  • Publication
    Towards a New Improved Pedagogy of "Children’s Rights and Responsibilities"
    (Brill, 2018-11-24)
    There is evidence from around the world that teaching on “rights and responsibilities” in schools is confused and ill-informed; as a result, children are misled and manipulated. Child researchers in Nicaragua discovered new evidence to support this view. An examination of the literature in search of guidance on how to teach children about rights and responsibilities found no consensus, but revealed eight different ways in which the relationship between children’s rights and responsibilities has been conceptualised: (1) Rights imply duties of a duty-bearer; (2) Rights imply responsibilities by reciprocity; (3) Responsibilities can be inferred from human rights instruments; (4) Some legal instruments define both rights and responsibilities for children; (5) Cultural and religious traditions may emphasise responsibilities, but rights can still be promoted in a way that is sensitive to these traditions; (6) Responsibilities can be paired with rights as part of classroom management strategies; (7) “Citizenship” can be taught as a contractual arrangement involving rights and responsibilities of the citizen; and (8) Children, as active citizens, can take on responsibilities, including the promotion and defence of their own rights and the rights of others. The challenge for educators is to develop a pedagogical approach that can encompass all of the above in a way that is appropriate, relevant and not confusing to children.
      269Scopus© Citations 7
  • Publication
    Where are the silences? A scoping review of child participatory research literature in the context of the Australian service system
    (Cambridge University Press, 2019-12) ; ; ; ;
    This paper presents a scoping review of the literature on child participatory research in Australia published in academic journals between 2000 and 2018. The review focused on research designed to engage with children and young people in the development, implementation and evaluation of services. A total of 207 papers were identified and distributed across eight service sectors: child protection and family law, community, disability, education, health, housing and homelessness, juvenile justice and mental health. The papers were reviewed against Shier’s participation matrix, demonstrating that almost all of the identified papers included children only as participants who contributed data to adult researchers. Only a small number of papers involved children and young people in the other phases of research, such as designing research questions, analysis and dissemination. There is a clear interest in the engagement of children and young people in service design and decision-making in Australia. This paper is intended to serve as a catalyst for discussion on where there are gaps and where further Australian research is needed.
      139Scopus© Citations 15
  • Publication
    Children as researchers in Nicaragua: Children’s consultancy to transformative research
    (SAGE, 2015-06-01)
    hild workers on Nicaragua’s coffee plantations have become researchers, generating knowledge which leads to action to help solve some of the severe social problems that affect the rural communities where they live and work. This article first looks at how child researchers are seen in the existing literature. It then traces the history of the approach used, known as Transformative Research by Children and Adolescents, from its origins in ‘Children’s Consultancy’ in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, through its adaptation to the Nicaraguan context and subsequent metamorphosis into today’s transformative research approach. It discusses the concept of ‘transformation’ in social research, and CESESMA’s alternative ‘four transformations’ framework, with its emphasis on a coherent concept of empowerment. It then identifies four things child researchers need from their adult supporters: appropriate and effective research methodology, skilled and sensitive process facilitation, technical support and a responsible attitude to child protection that recognises but does not exaggerate risks. It concludes by highlighting some challenges to be addressed in further developing and extending the approach.
      143Scopus© Citations 25