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Rewriting student voice

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Progressive and radical visions of education have accorded student voice an important place in their critiques of traditional schooling and their proposals for change. In this paper, I examine and criticize two popular conceptions of student voice. The firstvoice as individual expression- is put forward by advocates of writing workshop approaches tothe teaching of writing. Workshop advocates emphasize students' desire to express their unique selves in writing, and how traditional instruction frustrates this desire. The second conception of student voice- voice as participation- comes from advocates of critical pedagogy. These advocates call for critical dialogues among teachers and students, within which student voices would sound and be heard. I conclude the paper by sketching an alternative conception, one that affirms the strengths of these previous versions, as well as responds to their weaknesses. I propose that voice be conceived of as aproject involving appropriation, social struggle and becoming. My goal is to envision student voice in a way that more adequately recognizes the interactional and ideological complexities of student expression, so that we might, as educators and researchers, better support the flourishing of student voices in schools.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1998

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