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Valued outcomes in the counter-spaces of alternative education programs: success but on whose scale?


Plows, V and Bottrell, D and te Riele, K, Valued outcomes in the counter-spaces of alternative education programs: success but on whose scale?, Geographical Research, 55, (1) pp. 29-37. ISSN 1745-5863 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2016 Institute of Australian Geographers

DOI: doi:10.1111/1745-5871.12186


For marginalised young people, alternative education settings - referred to here as flexible learning programs (FLPs) - are thought to provide a powerful ‘counter-space’ to damaging experiences of mainstream schooling. Such programs are inherently contradictory, with potential to also reproduce stigma and disadvantage. The provision of secondary schooling via FLPs is significant. In Australia, for example, the sector serves over 70,000 students. A better understanding of student experiences and outcomes in these educational spaces is needed. Drawing on interview data with staff, students, and graduates from two FLPs in Victoria, this paper employs Soja's ideas about conceived, perceived, and lived space to explore what outcomes are valued and to consider how success is measured in these programs. The paper shows that FLP staff and students valued a diverse range of academic, social, and personal outcomes that support a more expansive vision of education and monitoring student success than dominant perspectives. The paper also suggests that these FLPs are both a counter-space and a space that connects back to the mainstream, optimally understood as third space, a hybrid place, bringing together the conventional and the alternative to create a valued and valuable education for marginalised young people.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:geographies of education, counter-space, third space, alternative education, educational outcomes, flexible learning programs
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Equity and access to education
UTAS Author:te Riele, K (Professor Kitty te Riele)
ID Code:113808
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2017-01-23
Last Modified:2022-06-17

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