'But I listen to children anyway!'—teacher perspectives on pupil voice

Bragg, Sara (2007). 'But I listen to children anyway!'—teacher perspectives on pupil voice. Educational Action Research, 15(4) pp. 505–518.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09650790701663973


This paper explores the perspectives of teachers who initially observed, and later came to participate
in, a pupil voice initiative in a primary school. Such ‘marginal’ points of view are often neglected in
discussions of youth participation. The article aims to demonstrate that whilst adult support for
pupil voice is crucial in ensuring its success and sustainability, it is important to recognise the
demands it places on teachers, for instance in changing their identities as professionals and their
relations both with children and with other staff. Methodologically, it offers a case-study approach,
drawing on research notes and data gathered during a two-year period in which a deputy head
attempted to develop pupil voice in a primary school and focusing on her own account of how the
other teachers responded to her work. It shows that, whilst children seemed to rise quickly to the
challenge of pupil voice ways of working and being, the perceptions, experiences and reactions of
the teachers tell a more ambiguous story of the complexities that emerge as intentions are implemented.
At the same time, the article offers insights into how pupil voice can be implemented in
ways that help achieve positive outcomes for all involved.

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