Child and youth voice research findings

'Know me. Believe in me' report

AUTHOR: Ministry of Education | The Southern Institute (TSI) | The Auckland Co-Design Lab

2020 mixed methods research, involving interviews with rangatahi, educators, youth workers and whānau, aims to understand the experience of rangatahi, including what helps and hinders their engagement at school..

Insights into the lived experiences of rangatahi, whānau and educators and what helps and hinders school engagement and attendance include:

  • Relationships and empathy are the key to learning: significant adults (eg. parent, coach, mentor) play important role/protective factor; important to build  resilience of rangatahi coping with trauma and toxic stress; children and young people want to be taught in ways that work for them
  • Moving from Intermediate to High School can be really hard: Supportive relationships are a protective factor pre and post transition
  • Choices and pathways for all: we need to bridge the gap between school and the world of work; Financial insecurity at home influences rangatahi learning and pathway decisions; Students need support to connect learning decisions with goals and aspirations; Some Māori and Pasifika students are filtered out of key pathway subjects
  • Rangatahi are motivated to give back despite barriers: Rangatahi are stressed by low incomes at home but many show resilience in the face of real struggle; Giving back to whānau is a key motivation for rangatahi   
  • Core subjects need to be culturally grounded to achieve equity: Culture and identity are championed in school but it needs to be embedded into core subjects; there's an insidious impact of unconscious and conscious bias

Systems insights include:

  • Understanding the brain, empathy and learning is vital but most secondary teachers do not get taught about the brain
  • Māori and Pasifika students are expected to thrive in a system that is not aware of its own Pākehā bias
  • Students who need the most support often end up in environments with the least resources
  • Schools are already resourceful and innovative
  • Supporting and scaling innovation within and across schools requires a lot of work
  • While there are many individuals and schools making an effort to coordinate, collaboration across the system is still tricky
  • Understanding existing interventions in the education system aimed at attendance wellbeing and engagement

Read the full report

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