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Voice, Identity and Participation

Voice, Identity and Participation: Connecting, challenging and transforming practices in schools

Funder: Irish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

Project Team: Prof Kathy Hall (PI), Dr Alicia Curtin, Dr Tracey Connolly, Dr Karl Kitching, Dr Caitriona Ni Laoire

Researcher and Project Manager: Dr Alicia Curtin

A collaboration between the School of Education and ISS21


The project is a collaboration primarily with practitioners but also policy makers to develop classroom and school based strategies arising from a specific line of relatively new, academic research highly relevant to catering for the diversity in Irish schools. The research puts social activities and relationships at the heart of the educational process and ties in with the challenges posed by living and working in the modern world, where communication and good social relations are fundamental to advanced forms of employment. It also aligns with the view that classroom walls are not barriers to becoming citizens of the future, but that schooling should allow our learners to make smooth transitions between school, community, family and work. The research evidence (to be exchanged) points to the significance of

1) promoting learning through the integration of education and everyday experiences; and

2) dialogue, discourse, negotiation, and respect for the learner’s perspective.

The project seeks to help practitioners reconceptualise their perspectives and thinking, enabling them transform their practices, and supporting them in meaningfully involving the learner. The sociocultural research in question demonstrates the importance of cultural bridging across homes, schools and communities such that learners’ identities and practices are recognised, affirmed, extended and challenged, as appropriate, within the pedagogies of school. Backed up by both empirical and conceptual analyses, several studies having been conducted by the project proposers, the team will work with a Core User Group of practitioners to apply this research. The project will use media and events to make the research accessible, meaningful and relevant to the realities of school life. Key features are: the recognition and capitalisation of the expertise of practitioners; the outreach nature of the activities; the involvement of international scholars; the use of the new technologies; and, the support of teacher unions and other policy agencies.

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30