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Developing a shared pedagogical space for and with early childhood studies degree students: a participatory research project

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posted on 2023-08-30, 15:05 authored by Mallika Kanyal
The study aimed to analyse the use of participatory approaches of working in partnership with students in a Higher Education Institution (HEI). The study builds upon students’ participation work by looking specifically at the benefits and challenges associated with the application of democratic and participatory principles of working together with students, in a contemporary HEI. The study also records my professional development as a participatory researcher by reflecting critically on my own experiences of facilitating a participatory project, whilst playing the dual role of an academic and a researcher, in the same institution. The methodology and methods are drawn from participatory research where both students and staff worked together in developing an Early Childhood Resource and Research Room (ECRR Room), as a curriculum enhancement space for the Early Childhood Studies (ECS) degree students. Six participatory group meetings, in the form of working and research group, with twenty ECS students, three members of staff, an administrator, and a lead researcher, formed the main method of enquiry. The working group met to develop the aims and objectives of the research and discuss the nature and scope of the ECRR Room; the research group met to analyse the participants’ views on the ECRR Room, discuss dissemination opportunities, and record students’ feedback on their participation in the project. The findings from the project suggest that participatory research can have multi-layered benefits in HE. It enabled the student participants in getting their views built in the development of a pedagogical space; helped individual students with their learning and personal development; as well as built capacity for knowledge co- construction through engagement in various processes of research. With these findings in mind, the study makes two major contributions. The first is pedagogical, where I integrate my academic and professional knowledge in conceptualising students’ participation in HE; and second, is methodological, in the form of a distinctive participatory approach of working in partnership with students.



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