Ros Black shows that student-centred approaches improve learning for students in our most disadvantaged communities, but that schools in these communities need new solutions to support their work. Ros Black shows that student-centred approaches improve learning for students in our most disadvantaged communities, but that schools in these communities need new solutions to support their work.
A quality school education is essential if young people are to have access to the greatest possible opportunities in life, but it is not a universal experience in Australia. Instead, too many young people are disengaged from school, especially during the middle years of schooling (Years 5 to 9). Disengagement and low achievement are strong predictors of lifelong socioeconomic disadvantage. Worryingly, they are more prevalent amongst students growing up in poorer families and in schools with high concentrations of these students. As poverty indicators increase, disadvantage is more entrenched in specific areas and education is more strongly linked to life chances, poor educational outcomes for already disadvantaged young people are of enormous concern.
This research project was conducted by Education Foundation Australia with funding from The R E Ross Trust to document the experience of schools in a disadvantaged area of Melbourne that have implemented student-centred learning in the middle years. The project looks at outcomes for student learning and engagement, analyses what supports or hinders these schools in the development, implementation and maintenance of student-centred learning and identifies what can be done to enable other schools to implement a similar approach.