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Children, Power and Schooling: How Childhood Is Structured in the Primary School.

CHILDREN, POWER AND SCHOOLING: How Childhood Is Structured in the Primary School. ISBN 1-85856-271-6. Dympna Devine. Stroke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England: Trentham Books Limited, 2003. The set-up of schools inherently puts adults in a position of power over children, raising concerns about how this relationship influences children's views of themselves. The report reviewed here resulted from the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which faulted adults who ignored the rights of young children to be heard.

The book is written from the viewpoint of children and concerns such questions as, "What do these children think of school? Why do they think they go to school? What do they like and dislike about school? How would they change school?" The answers to questions concerning what is important and unimportant indicate the discrepancy between the perceptions of adults and children.

The report studied 133 Irish primary school students (ages 7 to 11) from three co-educational primary schools, representing working class, lower middle class, and affluent middle class children. Ireland has been concerned about school structure issues, as evidenced by their National Children's Strategy 2000.

Chapters are devoted to the child's perspective on the following topics: social relationships in schools, the power of the curriculum, pedagogical practices, evaluation, child/adult relations, and ideas about how to redistribute power in schools.

The author concludes, "The voices of children conveyed in this book indicate that what children want most from their schooling is to be taught clearly, to be treated fairly, and to be taken seriously by adults in school."

Although the book was published in Great Britain, it is available through Sterling Books in the United States for $17.99.
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Title Annotation:Special Publications; book
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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