Children’s perceptions of themselves as learner inside and outside school

Abstract

This exploratory study set out to investigate how a group of children, who were identified as underachieving in school, constructed understandings of themselves as learners inside and outside school. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and image-based methods with the children. Interviews were also conducted with their parents and teachers. Findings of this study highlight the centrality of the children’s relational world and the richness of their learning experiences and capacity for learning outside school. Significant differences were evident in their descriptions of learning processes inside the classroom and outside the formal school setting. Outside school learning experiences, both structured and less formalised were perceived by the children as being more active, collaborative and challenging. Knowledge and understanding in these contexts seemed to be located within the children. In contrast, learning inside school was characterised by dependence on the teacher. Knowledge and understanding in this context appeared to be located within the teacher.

Citation

Swann, M.; Singal, N. Children’s perceptions of themselves as learner inside and outside school. Research Papers in Education (2009) 26 (4) 469-484. [DOI: 10.1080/02671520903281617]

Children’s perceptions of themselves as learner inside and outside school

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