Research on citizenship revealed that Flemish students, especially when they are in socially vulnerable positions, score very low on participation scales. This has far-reaching consequences for the sense of belonging of students at their schools and in society. Researchers call for action to anchor citizenship in school culture.
This particular research wants to contribute to this call by gaining insight into the mechanisms of student participation and to develop levers to strengthen civic culture at school. A multiple case study investigates whether the participation of socially vulnerable students in collaborative research supports the development of civic competences and the embedding of citizenship in school culture and educational practice.
This research is set up as a multiple case study with 4 cases. Each case is situated in a secondary school in the Brussels area. Within each case, a research team works for one school year to set up and carry out a practical study aimed at strengthening the educational learning environment within the school. The research team consists of socially vulnerable students at the age of 16-18, teachers, a coach, a teacher trainer and student-teachers. Data on student participation in practical research are collected throughout the school year using various methods (e.g. survey, photovoice). Qualitative data analysis within and across cases will provide in-depth insight into the mechanisms of student participation in collaborative research. The insights from this research will be translated into classroom and school practice in order to strengthen citizenship education.
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Prof. Dr. Nadine Engels, supervisor, MILO, VUB
Dra. Jetske Strijbos, researcher, MILO, VUB