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Southampton Education School

Research project: Responding to diversity by engaging with students’ voices: A strategy for teacher development

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The central aim of the project was to create an innovative approach to in-service teacher development. This aims to support teachers in developing inclusive classroom practices by engaging the views of students in such a way as to ensure that personal and social circumstances – for example, gender, socio-economic status and ethnic origin – are not an obstacle to participation and learning. The approach links three main elements – responding to diversity, the use of ‘lesson study’ and listening to students’ voices.

Dates: 2011- 2014

Five universities and eight secondary schools worked together as active partners within the project. These represented three countries – the UK, Spain and Portugal. 

The project involved the use of two cycles of collaborative action research and led to the development of a strategy for teacher development.

The evidence from the project schools is that the strategy does work and that it can be a practical benefit both to teachers and to their students. The project has produced a video, a guide and accounts of practice in five languages, all available for free download from the project website.


Messiou, K. (2018). Collaborative action research: facilitating inclusion in schoolsEducational Action Research, 1 13. DOI: org/10.1080/09650792.2018.1436081 

Messiou, K., Ainscow, M., Echeita, G., Goldrick, S., Hope, M., Paes, I., Sandoval, M., Simon, C. and Vitorino, T. (2016). Learning from differences: a strategy for teacher development in respect to student diversitySchool Effectiveness and School Improvement, 27(1), 45-61. DOI: 10.1080/09243453.2014.966726 

Messiou, K., & Ainscow, M. (2015). Responding to learner diversity: student views as a catalyst for powerful teacher development? Teaching and Teacher Education, 51, 246-255. DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2015.07.002 

Messiou, K., & Hope, M. A. (2015). The danger of subverting students’ views in schoolsInternational Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(10), 1009-1021. DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2015.1024763

Related research groups

Centre for Research in Inclusion
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