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Big Picture Education Australia: Experiences of students, parents/carers and teachers

Hayes, D., Down, B.ORCID: 0000-0003-4843-0563, Talbot, D. and Choules, K. (2013) Big Picture Education Australia: Experiences of students, parents/carers and teachers. University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

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Too many young Australians, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, are not benefiting from the rewards of education and training. For others, there is a growing sense of frustration and alienation about the kind of education they receive, and from their point of view school is boring, irrelevant and disconnected from the world they know. For many, there is a lack of personal connectedness and meaning as their own needs, desires, aspirations and interests are denied in large high school settings where the focus is on subjects, timetables, discipline, didactic teaching, examinations, and classroom-based learning. These historically persistent and protracted problems have preoccupied policymakers, researchers and school reformers for the past sixty years or more.

Whilst hardly new, the issue of student (dis)engagement is an increasingly urgent public policy matter not only in terms of economics - cost, productivity, global competitiveness, innovation and human capital, but also social cohesion, mental health and wellbeing, social justice, and democracy itself. At a time when young people face an increasingly volatile and uncertain future due to the impact of globalisation, deindustrialisation, technology, and job insecurity, schools are under pressure to resolve some complex social, economic and political problems not always of their own making. Ironically, schools are often perceived to be a part of the problem and also the solution.

Against this broader backdrop, this report attempts to identify, map and describe the experiences of students, their parents/carers and teachers attending schools in a range of sites across Australia adopting an interest-based approach to learning. The intent is to illuminate the experiences of these participants and, from their vantage point, better understand how this approach might address questions of student engagement, school reform, school leadership, curriculum, organisation, assessment and school-community relationships.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: University of Sydney
Copyright: © Not to be reproduced or quoted without permission of the authors and Origin Foundation
United Nations SDGs: Goal 4: Quality Education
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