Challenging normative assumptions regarding disengaged youth: a phenomenological perspective

Lewthwaite, Brian, Wilson, Kimberley, Wallace, Valda, McGinty, Sue, and Swain, Luke (2017) Challenging normative assumptions regarding disengaged youth: a phenomenological perspective. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 30 (4). pp. 388-405.

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This paper explores the experiences of 12 young people, all teenagers, who have chosen to attend alternative schools known as flexible learning options within the Australian context. Using a phenomenological approach, the study seeks to understand their experiences outside the normalised public discourse that they had 'disengaged' from mainstream school. A phenomenological approach is employed because of its potential to draw attention to predetermined assumptions about, in this study's case, student disengagement, a concept commonly framed within a pathologised and deficit perspective. The study gives evidence for the utility of a phenomenological approach in providing insight into how macrosystem policy, such as a nationalistic neoliberal agenda, influences 'schooling' and subsequently students' experiences with schools. The implications of this study with attention to the nexus between methodology and policy are discussed, especially in drawing attention to how phenomenology as a qualitative methodology provides a means of agency for the disenfranchised to challenge existing policy and public assumptions.

Item ID: 46264
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1366-5898
Keywords: school engagement; flexible learning options; phenomenology; policy
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP130100344
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2016 04:19
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390102 Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development @ 50%
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390399 Education systems not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 20%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education @ 50%
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