Growing student voice in curriculum decisions at the university
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Abstract: This paper is a result of the development of the R+D Project Schools that are moving towards inclusive education: working with the local community, the student voice and educational support for promoting change in conjunction with the Innovation Project Building Bridges. An Educational Innovation Project in the European Higher Education Area which has been developed in the University of Cantabria (Spain). The main objective of this project is to put into practice teaching methodology which reflects the inclusive principle of collaboration, with the aim of widening student participation as agents in the development of the curriculum (Seale, 2010). The initiative is being developed over two academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15 in two subjects in Primary Education teacher training. One hundred and eighty-six students together with their teachers are taking part in the project. The project has been organised in two phases. In the first phase, students from the two participating groups chose different materials and resources for teaching three major topics in schools: collaboration, the feeling of belonging and respect for differences. In the second phase, some of the students from both subjects, together with their University teachers, established a Resource Guide which could be considered as one of the main results of this project. Furthermore, the latter required sustained commitment over time (8 months). Similarly other collaborative values, which will be discussed in further detail, can be found in this work. These are: the connection between training and the real needs of schools (Zeichner, 2010), the projection of work carried out towards the future given that this will be shared with students from subsequent courses or the proposal of collaboration with the material and tangible objective of practical use aimed at inclusive education. Lastly, the project has been evaluated by the participants based on in-depth interviews. In this summary, it can be seen that students have emphasised the value of this project as a way of enabling them to experience new teaching methodologies which promote a realistic connection between what is studied in the classroom with actual practice in schools.
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