Schools are now asked to complete self-evaluation forms and update these annually. They not only require specific information about the views of learners, but also want to know how this information is gathered.
Children’s Voices provides a simple structure for gathering and assessing the views of pupils and parents/carers. This book will help to meet the school’s needs in this evaluation and, in particular, to complete the SEFs which take into account the views of everyone connected with the schools including those of children.
It is not only the collection of data and views that are important. When people are listened to they feel empowered with an improved view of their own self-worth. They, adults and children, feel that they belong to the community, have something to offer and are worthy of taking on some responsibility for the part they play in that community.
As well as using data from the various sections in this book to complete the SEFs listening to what the children are telling us will improve our teaching or techniques to meet their needs.
Listening to children's voices is only the first step. It is the action we take about what they say that is important.
Who is Children's Voices for?
Children's Voices is designed as a programme for teachers in mainstream schools. It will also be useful for teachers of children with special needs and classroom assistants working with individual children or very small groups. It is also suitable for use in special schools and with students in training establishments.
The research techniques will enable teachers to collect data which will reveal children’s responses to various aspects of school and learning. The data from the responses will be useful in helping to complete the evaluation forms and the responses from the children can be used by each teacher to improve their teaching and understand better the needs of their pupils from the children’s point of view.
Using techniques described and explained in Children’s Voices (‘Draw and Write’ and ‘Draw and Talk’ – activities which include working in pairs or groups, discussion and
debate, with activity pages), children can assess their own school as well as their own learning, health and happiness in their school. The research activities give children a voice and enable us to listen to and act upon it.
The activity pages accompanying each set of activities are suggestions for further work in line with the theme of the section. Activities provide for differentiation, the child being able to write and draw as much as they like or as little as their ability allows. The activities are arranged in three broad age groups, 5-7, 8-9 and 10-11.
Summary of contents
Introduction and how to use the book
An explanation of the Draw and Write and Draw and Talk techniques
Parental Involvement. This includes ways to involve parents more and suggestions for gaining parent's responses about the school
Training for teachers and others with suggested workshops using PowerPoint presentations for staff training. Teachers and other adults will be trained in the techniques of working with children of various ages to gain their responses and in extracting data from the children's responses in order to:
use the data for the OFSTED evaluation forms (SEFs)
use the children's responses to improve the ways teachers/adults work with children
use the data to improve the health and happiness of the children
re-use the techniques to evaluate changes in the children's perceptions at the end of the school year or term.
Activities for use with children and how to use results
This contains 15 sections. Each section contains the following:
A Draw and Talk strategy for children not yet writing for themselves.
Suggestions about how to use the data and work to do with these young children.
An activity page.
Introduction to the Draw and Write.
Draw and Write invitations to use with all children.
Children's response sheet.
Suggestions for collecting data under various headings.
What did the data tell us? Discuss with colleagues.
Discussion with the children.
Activities for 5-7 year olds with an accompanying activity page.
Activities for 8-9 year olds with an accompanying activity page.
Activities for 10-11 year olds with an accompanying activity page.
Review and action, suggestions to complete each section.
Staff Training: PowerPoint WorkshopsThe accompanying CD-Rom contains all the materials necessary to make full use of the techniques described in Children's Voices. It includes:
Three PowerPoint presentations, which will enable the training of teachers and others in understanding, practising, using and undertaking the research techniques with children
All the resources needed to administer the research techniques as well as the activity pages for the children to use.
Excel sheets for collecting data from children's response sheets from each section can be printed off to allow teachers to enter data by hand
There are three suggested PowerPoint sessions with staff:
PowerPoint 1. IntroductionSo that all staff in the school are aware of the two research strategies, this PowerPoint provides a general introduction and rationale of both the Draw and Talk and the Draw and Write research strategies. There are examples of children's work from other Draw and Talks and Draw and Writes which will help in discussing the two strands of the research strategy.
PowerPoint 2. Draw and Talk
This PowerPoint presentation is for staff who are going to use the Draw and Talk research strategy with children who are not yet writing for themselves. These may be children from the early year classes or children with special needs. It advises on how to do the strategy and looks at some children's responses from the 'Coming to School' and 'My Classroom' Draw and Talk. It asks staff to do the Draw and Talk 'Coming to School' section as though they are the children, then collect data and discuss the process.
PowerPoint 3. Draw and WriteThis PowerPoint presentation is for staff who are going to use the Draw and Write research strategy. First the participants examine and discuss how to implement the Draw and Write research and view some completed children's response sheets from the 'Learning to Read' research. Following this, the facilitator will administer the 'Coming to School' Draw and Write while the rest of the group do the Draw and Write as though they were children. This should be a light-hearted session with staff recognising how children might behave while doing the Draw and Write. When finished, the participants work together to manually input their data on the Excel data collection sheet and finally discuss how to use the Excel data collection sheet on the computer with their children's responses.