First Advisor

Emily de la Cruz

Date of Publication

Spring 6-4-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Role expectation, Teacher-student relationships, High school students, Leadership, Educational change



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 227 pages)


Over the past decade, engaging student voice has emerged as an approach to increasing meaningful student involvement in schools towards meeting adolescents' developmental needs for agency, efficacy, and sense of belonging. Central to student voice work is the re-creation of student-teacher and student-organization relationships, generating student identity roles that are fundamentally different from the roles traditionally allocated to students. Conventional concepts of student roles by both adults and youth can act as barriers to increasing student voice. The goal of this study was to develop a better understanding of student role identity. Applying a critical ethnography approach in the context of participatory action research, a situated description of the student role within the organizational context of a rural high school was developed from the perspectives of students and teachers through the use of an online software platform. Keeping with student voice values and participatory action research protocols, students took a central role in developing and piloting survey questions, interpreting and organizing responses, reviewing the results, and presenting them to the school community. The data revealed both the aspirations and limitations of the student and teacher conceptions of the student role. Conventional notions of student identity dominated the role descriptions, and were generally consistent across student and teacher responses. Significant areas of divergence between student and teacher constructs included the explicit temporal orientation toward the future exclusive to the student responses, the engagement in academics that dominated the teacher submissions and rankings, and the conception of the student as a citizen/community member that was found only in the teacher responses. The results suggested an inclination on the part of both students and teachers to increase opportunities for students to inform and influence policies and practices at all levels of the school organization. Presentations of the study results to the school community by the student researchers have induced some systemic reform toward promoting student voice.


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