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Tassie Researchers: child-led research and the dialogic imagination


Lang, M and Shelley, B, Tassie Researchers: child-led research and the dialogic imagination, 12th Educational Psychology Forum, 3-4 February, 2020, Massey University (2020) [Plenary Presentation]

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Participatory research with children is a popular means of facilitating children’s voice. Resting on recognition of children’s rights as defined by the UNCRC (UN General Assembly, 1989) and the capabilities of children as agentic beings (Horgan, 2017), it seems natural for children to contribute as active subjects, co-researchers or researchers in their own right. Child researchers have the potential to discover important elements of situations which are often invisible to the eyes of adults, thereby contributing new perspectives (Thomas, 2017). Proponents of child-led research point to the competence children can achieve as researchers, informed by the assumption that aptitude is a result of experience rather than of cognitive development (Morrow, 2005; Thomas, 2017). Children are benefitted by research training through development of important capabilities and skills in statistical and critical thinking. Overall, child-led research is seen as an ethical approach to research with children and young people which profits all parties. "Tassie Researchers" is a child-led research program instigated by researchers from the Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment, University of Tasmania, Australia. In this program, adult researchers train children 7-14 years of age to conduct their own research project. This paper explores the first iteration of this program, delivered at a low SES school in the northern suburbs of Hobart, Tasmania. At first sight the program was a resounding success. The children were enthusiastic and engaged and produced interesting research. However, closer examination reveals the complexities behind the seemingly simple act of ‘listening to the voices of children’. Reflection on preparation and delivery of the program reveals a range of motivations on the part of the four adult researchers, some of which raise questions around the ethics of enabling children’s voice. In particular, the need for temporal space in child-led research is highlighted.

Item Details

Item Type:Plenary Presentation
Keywords:child-led research, children's rights, dialogism
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lang, M (Ms Megan Lang)
UTAS Author:Shelley, B (Dr Becky Shelley)
ID Code:137461
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2020-02-14
Last Modified:2020-02-17

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