Listening to unheard voices: the responsibility of inclusive researchers

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I recently had the pleasure of participating in the cocreation of A Manifesto for Education for Environmental Sustainability that has just been launched (BERA Research Commission, 2021). It was a particular privilege to collaborate with experts, and young people whose future depends on adults supporting them to make sensitive decisions about their planet’s future. The biggest factor in persuading me to take part, however, was the project leads' willingness to let me adapt their methodology so that the views of young people with learning difficulties could be sought and incorporated into the manifesto’s design. Far too often it is assumed that these young people – because they may have difficulties in communicating, need longer to understand and respond to stimuli, or do not use standard communication devices – have nothing to say. Having researched the responses of young people with significant learning support needs to being taught science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and supervised a doctoral student who considered their response to learning a modern foreign language, I have been convinced that they have much to communicate, if only researchers will listen to them.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationResearch Intelligence
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022


  • listening
  • unheard voices
  • responsibility
  • inclusive researchers
  • young people
  • learning difficulties


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