Research project

Responding to diversity by engaging with students' voices

Project overview

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.

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 schools. Educational Action Research, 1 13.

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 diversity. School 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 schools. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(10), 1009-1021. DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2015.1024763


Lead researcher

Professor Kyriaki (Kiki) Messiou

Professor of Education

Research interests

  • inclusive education
  • marginalisation in schools
  • research with children and young people
Connect with Kyriaki (Kiki)

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs