Power and resistance: Reflections on the rhetoric and reality of using participatory methods to promote student voice and engagement in higher education
Potter, Alice E.
Journal of Further and Higher Education
Taylor and Francis
The focus of this paper is methods for facilitating student voice and engagement in higher education, specifically participatory methods. Across the student voice and engagement literature there is a growing emphasis on promoting collaborative partnerships between staff and students. However, there is a lack of detail and criticality with regards to 1) exactly how genuine partnerships can be achieved and 2) comparing the vision for and the reality of positioning 'students as partners' in the current higher education climate. In this paper, we evaluate the potential of participatory methods to facilitate quality partnerships between staff and students. Drawing on our experiences of being involved in a participatory project in one Higher Education Institution we offer reflective narratives from three different partners who participated in the project: student, lecturer and researcher. We use these narratives to explore the nature of the partnerships between lecturers and students, focusing specifically on issues of resistance and power. We conclude by considering the implications for how we conceptualise and implement student voice and engagement projects in higher education.
Vol. 39 (4), pp. 534 - 552