Student voice and the international curriculum: Connections, contexts and spaces

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Rohan Skene—Bavarian International School (Germany)

This study explores the significance of student voice in two international curricula, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP). Framed within a social realist epistemology and employing individual and focus group interviews to gather teacher and student perspectives, this work is ‘in the style’ of a grounded research approach, underpinned by established work on student participation and wider concepts of curriculum and curriculum design. Three European international schools are included in this study, each one distinctly offering a linear, constructivist or mixed approach to delivering the IGCSE or MYP international middle year’s curriculums. The emergent research perspectives suggest that a constructivist approach to curricular design, as represented by the MYP, may positively promote student voice due to its less prescribed nature. The study also finds that the encouragement of ‘teacher voice’ through an understanding and negotiation of the overt power imbalances inherent in schools will assist in the establishment and sustainability of teacher-student learning collaborations. This study advances the notion that student voice conversations need to be pedagogical rather than content-based in order to successfully support learning.

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