What are young people saying about disengaging from mainstream secondary schooling in Aotearoa-New Zealand?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Young people disengage from mainstream secondary schooling for a variety of complex reasons. In the thesis, I explore young people's talk to investigate what these reasons are and I use voice as a research approach to hear first-hand how young people feel about leaving school early. In collaboration with the youth coaches from Te Runanga o Nga Maata Waka, (Nga Maata Waka) an indigenous Youth Service NEET (not in education, employment or training) provider, we gathered young people's voices as shared knowledge. For Nga Maata Waka these voices offer an opportunity to explore policy and practice implications in the Youth Service NEET environment and for me, so I could understand the constraining and enabling or push/pull factors of disengagement from mainstream secondary schooling. To guide and support me throughout this collaborative journey I draw on multiple sociological theories and methodologies such as Kaupapa Māori, critical ethnography and symbolic interactionism. To analyse their voices I use multiple methods such as the Listening Guide of Carol Gilligan, thematic analysis and elements of discourse analysis. The voices in this thesis add to the ongoing debate of disengagement, by suggesting young people are sensitive towards their unsuccessful schooling identities. I also gathered talk from the staff at Nga Maata Waka who offer their operational perspectives of working in a Youth Service NEET environment. From their talk the following themes emerged-the importance of relationships, the ethos and role of the youth coach and the voice of knowing, which connects with the important concepts 'silence' and 'silencing'. I address these two concepts in the ways we, as others, with our voice of knowing, intentionally or unintentionally speak on the behalf of young people and influence their choice to disengage from mainstream secondary schooling.