Reciprocated Learning with "At Risk" Students

Bland, Derek C. & Atweh, Bill (2006) Reciprocated Learning with "At Risk" Students. International Journal of Learning, 12(9), pp. 223-230.

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Recent education reforms in Australia and elsewhere are calling for innovative ways to increase school retention and tertiary participation of students deemed educationally "at risk". The Student Action Research for University Access (SARUA) project in Brisbane, Australia, was developed as a response to one school’s concerns about Year 12 outcomes. SARUA, which has since spread to many other schools and is being employed interstate, offers a model with the potential to address some of the issues identified in the school reform programs. In a SARUA project, the high school students research barriers to higher education that exist within their own communities and plan consequent activities. In doing so, they not only increase their skills and knowledge, but they are presented with a forum for their voices to be heard and for their own ideas on school reform to be taken up by their schools. There are certain risks for the students in undertaking this work and in critiquing their own schools. Encouraging and respecting student voice, however, involves attendant risks for those working with the students in the research process - not only must schools be willing to accept student views on their shortcomings, but teachers and the project’s facilitators must also be prepared to learn from the student researchers. Using students’ views gleaned from their research reports and focus groups, this paper firstly examines the learning that has ensued from participation in the project for the students in terms of overcoming some of their own educational disadvantage and increasing their confidence as learners and researchers. Secondly, it explores the learning that the university researchers facilitating the project have gained from the students. The paper concludes by considering the advantages of this model for other areas of teaching and learning with relevance to at risk students, with particular regard to recent school reforms and the introduction in Queensland of "productive pedagogies".

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ID Code: 5718
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Students as Researchers, At Risk Students, Secondary Schools, Education Reform, HERN
ISSN: 1447-9494
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Derek C. Bland and Bill Atweh
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 04:55

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