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Thanks for the opportunity! Or…was it a threat?: student experiences in ‘choosing’ flexible learning


Thomas, J, Thanks for the opportunity! Or was it a threat?: student experiences in choosing' flexible learning, 2016 Doing School Differently Conference Program, 15-16 September 2016, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, pp. 2. (2016) [Conference Extract]

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This presentation addresses the question of whether we all mean the same thing when we describe a flexible learning program for disengaged youth as voluntary. Do all students who choose to enter these programs do so in the same way and for the same reasons? Does this matter? Research certainly suggests that voluntary programs for disengaged youth are likely to be more effective than compulsory ones. 12 students who enrolled in a voluntary program for disengaged youth were interviewed about their choice to enrol. Analysis of the interviews revealed that the process of making this choice involved nuanced decisions and interplay among the students, the school and respected adults in their lives. It was not a straightforward choice. Four main construct types to explain the ways in which choice was experienced by the students emerged: (1) an opportunity for self-improvement, (2) an escape from the current situation, (3) a threat, for which the alternative would be a severe consequence, and (4) a nudge taken from a respected adult. The experiences within the program of students with each of these choice constructs were examined and it became evident that being 'voluntary' perhaps is not enough to empower students in flexible learning.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Choice, Reengagement, alternative education, flexible learning
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Thomas, J (Dr Jeffrey Thomas)
ID Code:113768
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-01-19
Last Modified:2017-01-20

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