Perils of perspective: Identifying adult confidence in the child’s capacity, autonomy, power and agency (CAPA) in readiness for voice-inclusive practice

In recent years, children’s voice initiatives in education have gained increased recognition and application. However, while the concept of child and student ‘voice’ is not new, there remains a high level of inconsistency in how voice-focused initiatives are implemented across education sectors. Not all voice initiatives are successful, mainly because such initiatives are not always willingly adopted by the adults directly responsible for the education of children. If authentic voice-inclusive practice is to occur, greater recognition of the impact an adult’s conceptualisation of children has on their willingness and ability to embrace voice-inclusive practice needs to take place. Understanding the key informants that adults draw upon to conceptualise children and their capabilities can assist educational strategists in identifying adult readiness for authentic and effective Voice-Inclusive Practice. Voice-inclusive practice is defined as actions and processes that incorporate children’s perspectives and actively engage with children on matters that affect them. This paper presents a conceptual model CAPA (capacity, autonomy, power and agency) representing the subjective designations adults place on the child that informs the application of sustained voice-inclusive practice and offers a ‘pre-voice’ exploration of an individual’s likelihood of engaging in voice-inclusive practice.