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Browsing by Author "Tujula, Mikko"

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  • Tujula, Mikko (2012)
    In my thesis, I studied the conceptions of the teachers who supervise school councils in primary schools. The purpose of this study was to examine the aims of school councils, how the aims are actualised, and how the school councils are organised and enhanced at the school level. The concern about the social passivity of children and the young has been raised to public discussion after the millennium. School councils have been considered to be a solution for decreasing social passivity. School democracy has not been a popular topic since the 1980 s, but during the 21st century, it has become more popular, and nowadays, many primary schools have their own school councils. Nevertheless, school councils have not been a popular research subject. In this study, the perspective to school world is societal, and the supervising teachers' conceptions are reflected to democracy, participation and citizenship education using the writings by Dewey, Freire and Biesta. The research data was collected from ten thematic interviews. The interviewees were ten teachers from Espoo, who were responsible for supervising the school councils at their schools. The interviews were analysed using research methods typical for a phenomenographic study. According to the study, the teachers are mainly very satisfied with school councils. School councils were considered to be such places in which pupils learn useful knowledge and skills. In addition, the teachers thought that school councils enhance the communality of schools as well as the participation of pupils. The role of school councils as an organiser of events was considered to be very strong. Via school councils, pupils have been able to affect schools' equipment and conventions, for example, the equipment that can be used during breaks, and school catering. Even though school councils were considered very positive, the interviewed teachers found many things to improve. For example, the teachers thought that pupils and teachers should be more active. In addition, it was considered that even though school councils provide a model of democracy and active citizenship, the pupils' possibilities to impact matters at their school were only minor. School councils were considered to be led by teachers and coordinated from above. School councils could be improved by shifting the focus on school democracy from school councils to classrooms. In classrooms, every student would have an opportunity to learn useful knowledge and skills and to gain experience if they could impact matters at school.