Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improving urban environments: why children’s voices should be heard

05.07.2006
The impact of involving children living in urban areas in decisions about their local community can be dramatic, according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Council. Empowering them can have positive effects on the children's academic and social development and contribute to improving school curricula.

These findings emerge from an innovative research project, led by Professor William Scott of the University of Bath. Professor Scott and his team worked with a group of 11 and 12 year olds in a secondary school in a deprived urban area of South Gloucestershire to explore, and ultimately improve their local environment.

The research project gave the children a leading role: not only did they help determine the focus of the research, they were also an integral part of the research team - designing the process, collecting and analysing data, drawing conclusions and suggesting changes.

The teachers involved in the research reported that the children ‘had had a massive boost to their self-esteem, with individuals growing in confidence’. They attributed this to the responsibility and trust children had been given saying that ‘what had been achieved was largely generated by the children themselves’.

The teachers were particularly impressed by

- the project’s impact on the children’s capacity to learn and enjoy learning,
- their new found ability to relate to people in different ways
- and the development of new skills, particularly in the imaginative use of IT.
The project also involved educationalists, local authority representatives and adult family members and the adult participants were reported to be enthused by the new insights they had gained into how to engage children, the new collaborative working relationships they had established and by the new ways of thinking about the curriculum. One of the teacher researchers described the project as ‘one of the best professional experiences in many years of teaching’.

The researchers found that urban children were very knowledgeable about their local community and were directly affected by such problems as air and noise pollution, traffic dangers and crime. They increasingly found themselves with nowhere to go and nothing to do, particularly around the age of 11 and 12 when they move from primary to secondary school and are start to move away from their home-centred, adult-controlled childhoods.

Professor Scott and his team noted that children’s ideas about the environment were rarely sought when planning decisions were made. Children did not know how to make their voices heard and believed that their schools should support them in getting their views across. Moreover, the researchers suggest that this lack of connection between children’s experience of school and their out-of-school lives contributes to their decline in academic progress and motivation experienced by many children in the early years of secondary school.

The project was highly successful in establishing ways for children to participate in planning decisions. The children produced a DVD and organised a Children’s Conference where all Year 7 pupils were able to participate and question a panel of school and local officials. As a result, the police community liaison officer and the local authority parks committee representative agreed to come into the school to listen to the children’s concerns. The work of the project continues in the school and is being extended to other local schools.

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Starting school boosts development
11.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>