Mind Shift: Are We Taking Our Students' Work Seriously Enough?

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Story by Luba Vangelova

studentsworkseriouslyIn the course of studying different aspects of children’s environments, Dr. Roger Hart noticed that “a lot of supposedly participatory projects had a distinct air of tokenism. Children were being put on display, so to speak, as though they were actively participating, but they were not taken seriously.”

To get people talking about this issue, Hart, who serves as director of the Children’s Environments Research Group at the City University of New York and helps lead the Article 15 Project, a children’s rights organization, adapted a colleague’s ladder metaphor. He labeled the rungs:

1. Manipulation

2. Decoration

3. Tokenism

4. Assigned but informed

5. Consulted and informed

6. Adult-initiated, share decisions with children

7. Child-initiated and directed

8. Child-initiated, share decisions with adults

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