Their other lives: student perspectives on their schools, learning and aspirations … and a teacher’s perspective Australian Association for the Teachers of English (AATE), Research Series No 6
In the early 1990s, Stirling College in Weston Creek (since amalgamated with Woden College to form Canberra College) decided to do a major curriculum review. They wanted to involve their students in the process, but knew that the student voice was often repressed in formal meetings with staff. How then, senior staff wanted to know, might the authentic voices of their students be a part of the curriculum renewal process?
I was approached to interview a handful of students, to ask them to talk about their experiences of college and their attitudes towards what they were learning. The interviews were written up, and when senior staff saw the material, they asked me to increase the number from 3 to 10, and to include as well in-depth interviews with parents and teachers of the selected students.
I then presented these ten case studies to first of all senior staff, and then to the whole staff.
The ACT representative on the Australian Association for the Teachers of English (AATE), Barney Devlin, was a member of the Stirling staff, and he discussed with me the possibility of the material being worked into a book. AATE agreed to the proposal.