Educational and Life Transitions/TCELT: Literature Club

Mercieca, D. (Contributor)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Description

Transition in student voice: are we redistributing voice? Putting Rancière to work

The reflections that I am sharing look at the concept of children’s voices. Until relatively recently children were considered as young adults (see Ariès, 1960) who lacked voice. Today the UN Convention on The Rights of the Child Article 12.1 argues that “States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child”. This stance is understood as being conducive to a more democratic society. As an aftermath of this many policy documents nowadays assume children’s voice and want to access this voice.

I am interested in looking closer at the transition: from voiceless child to a child who has a voice through which she can express her views. Yet the question we pose is: Are children’s voices accessible? I want to argue that this transition is in a permanent state of flux where the adults’ role is still very much in control of the transition.

In this reflection I will be using two examples from research carried out by two of my past students (Elvira Psaila and Sarah Piscopo Mercieca). Both pieces of studies were trying to question the concept of voice in relation to children with additional needs. I will be reading these two pieces of work through the ideas of Jacques Rancière. I will be using Rancière as his work puts the spotlight on the process – the transition of one stage (voiceless) to another (having a voice). However, this session suggests that the stage of “having a voice” is nonetheless positioned within the political structure of the powerful. We therefore question the democratic contribution of this transition, which contribution is assumed.
PeriodDec 2019
Event typeWorkshop
Degree of RecognitionInternational