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Reconceptualising childhood: Children's rights and youth participation in schools


Leanne Johnny 
McGill University, Canada
leanne.johnny@mail.mcgill.ca

 

 

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Abstract

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child holds that young people have a right to participate in matters affecting them. While all members of the United Nations have ratified the Convention (with the exception of the United States and Somalia), there are numerous challenges associated with implementing the participatory principle in schools. In response to some of these challenges, this paper examines how western conceptions of childhood, which associate the child with innocence and dependence, have worked to undermine youth participation in the school environment. It explores alternative understandings of children as put forth by child liberationist theorists and international commitments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Moreover, it calls upon schools to re-evaluate their hierarchical structure in order to uphold the participatory rights of children. 

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, participatory rights, social construction of childhood, child liberationist theory, school hierarchy

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 Johnny, L. (2006) Reconceptualising childhood: Children's rights and youth participation in schools. International Education Journal, 7 (1), 17-25.
http://iej.cjb.net

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