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An ethnographer swinging in the school policy jungle: Peeling the layers

Robinson, J.ORCID: 0000-0003-0958-4973 (2007) An ethnographer swinging in the school policy jungle: Peeling the layers. In: Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Forum 2007, 11 August 2007, Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley Campus


My presentation will focus on the challenges and successes of gathering empirical research data within a large secondary high school. I will outline some of the ethical dilemmas in obtaining access to student voices when conducting research which examines behaviour management in schools. Through the use of critical ethnography and many reflexive 'turns' I make sense of the data to speak back to policy deafness. I argue that amidst challenges in doing this type of research, many authentic interpretations, understandings and portraits of school experience are revealed, swinging these obstacles into new light. Rich contextual data emerges, calling in to question many preconceived notions of classroom behaviour. The aim is to rethink behaviour management policy, throwing into the picture new dimensions and possibly, collective and empathetic understandings.

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