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Young people, optimism and nature: a fragile balance for education

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‘Student voice’, ‘learning for engagement’ and ‘students’ well-being’ are frequent phrases used in project titles for education research. As John Dewey taught us more than one century ago the lived experiences of students are of paramount importance for teachers to understand. How well we do this is reflected in the responses young people make to questions related to their favourite places, places of concern and advice for teachers. With examples drawn from projects that include the 1996 Land-Use UK project I try to identify the patterns in students’ responses to these questions. Have we learnt anything in this time period or are regulatory measures making the task for teachers and teaching more difficult? How are young people faring in this complicated world of information / knowledge paradoxes.

Margaret Robertson is Professor of Education at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests include seeking ways to better understand young people’s relationships with place and developing strategies to include their voices in decision making. A research quandary of personal interest is how they juggle the competing demands of living locally and communicating globally. For a brief time a former researcher in the Faculty of Education with the Land Use UK Project, Margaret was first introduced to Cambridge by the late Dr Rex Walford. Her interests stem from a long career associated with Geographical Education in schools and higher education.

This talk is part of the Centre for Commonwealth Education (CCE) series.

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