TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCES OF RE-ENGAGING DISENFRANCHISED YOUNG PEOPLE IN LEARNING THROUGH INQUIRY-BASED PEDAGOGIES: A PHENOMENOGRAPHIC STUDY

  • Debra Talbot University of Sydney
  • Debra Hayes University of Sydney
Keywords: inquiry learning, interest-based learning, phenomenography

Abstract

The potential of inquiry-based pedagogies to improve the learning outcomes of students has gained some support in the literature. In Australia, a small group of schools has adopted inquiry-based pedagogies that foreground students’ interests in order to re-engage young people who have been disenfranchised from schooling, and also to provide an alternative education for those seeking a more responsive form of educational provision. This paper reports on a phenomenographic analysis of the experiences of teachers in these schools, which was part of a larger study that included interviews with students and their parents or caregivers, classroom observations, and documentary analysis. In developing their curriculum, participating schools drew inspiration from a U.S. organization, Big Picture Learning; hence, a core element involved students learning through their interests (LTI), a feature of Big Picture schooling. The building of inquiry skills, for both students and teachers, is foundational to the success of LTI. This paper aims to contribute to more responsive education provision for disenfranchised young people by documenting the range of variation in teachers’ experiences when implementing such a curriculum. We also consider the implications for sustainability of this approach in terms of the intellectual, physical, and emotional demands made on teachers.

Published
2016-05-18