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Chapter 2.1 From Classroom Resistance to School Reform

Institutional Transformation to Engage a Diverse Student Body

ISBN: 978-0-85724-903-6, eISBN: 978-0-85724-904-3

Publication date: 28 June 2011


Purpose – In the project described in this chapter, a group of educationally disengaged students investigated their peers' perspectives of factors relating to low aspiration for and access to university. On the basis of their findings, they created an informative DVD to address the student needs.

Methodology/approach – Action research processes were employed in this ‘students-as-researchers’ project. The research component was carried out through surveys, while the action component was the creation of the DVD.

Findings – The student researchers found that many of their peers had unrealistic concepts of university. A lack of role models and low teacher expectations appear to lead to low tertiary aspiration, awareness and access.

Research limitations/ implications (if applicable) – The DVD had a profound impact on the participants and their school, and within a few years progression to university grew to exceed the State average.

Practical implications (if applicable) – The student researchers provided their reasons for engagement in the project that have implications for pedagogy and attempts to re-engage marginalised students with mainstream education.

Social implications – The transformation of the school's culture shows that high expectations of all students, combined with creative opportunities to demonstrate their potential, can assist in increasing educational opportunities for students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Originality/value of paper – The main value of the chapter is in the students' rationale for their own engagement in the project, which can inform strategies to engage marginalised students.



Bland, D. (2011), "Chapter 2.1 From Classroom Resistance to School Reform", Thomas, L. and Tight, M. (Ed.) Institutional Transformation to Engage a Diverse Student Body (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 57-65.



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