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Investigating the representation of Foundation to Grade 2 students in a Victorian Government Policy on student voice in Australia: a curriculum perspective
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-17, 06:13 authored by Bonita Gardiner, Sarah OhiSarah Ohi
Abstract Student voice initiatives aim to create democracy in education institutions by hearing from the very people who are impacted by them most; the students. Amplify is a practice guide written by the Department of Education (DE), Victoria, that aims to promote student voice practices for students in government primary and secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. Although limited, prior student voice research in education has identified key issues associated with enacting student voice practices linked closely to notions of political and social power in schools. Understandably, education institutions are grappling to identify and adopt conducive student voice practices. This research investigated how the DE Victoria represented Foundation to Grade 2 students in Amplify with consideration to the curriculum implications of student voice. This paper reports the findings from a study involving critical discourse analysis of this pertinent student voice document developed by the government for use by school leaders and teachers. The research revealed issues with Amplify’s discourse on student voice for improved learning outcomes, and identified the embedding of dominant social, political and power ideologies, as well as a clear under-representation or focus upon young children. The findings from this study make a valuable contribution to local and international student voice research as they reinforce a gap in the literature and contribute to the existing knowledge on the curriculum implications of student voice. They are valuable for informing the development of future curriculum approaches and provide a basis for further research in this area. The findings are also relevant to schools that are genuinely working to strengthen student voice in curriculum design.