School of Education

RAVE current research

Pedagogies to engage: VET teacher practices and pedagogies that engage early school leavers

Researcher: Annette Foley

This small project was funded by the Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group

The study examined how adult pedagogies and practices were used to engage early school leavers at an early school leaver program at a Regional TAFE Institute. The project was designed to provide an enhanced understanding of young people’s experiences in the early school leaving program and explored the young person’s plans and aspirations after completing their TAFE program. The research questions were:

  1. What teaching strategies do VET teachers employ to engage young learners who have left school early?
  2. What are the pedagogies used in pathways programs?
  3. What other teaching strategies are employed to engage students who have left school early?
  4. What are the aspirations and plans of young people?

Rationale: School retention rates for students in regional Victoria are lower than metropolitan areas. Out-of-school programs and TAFE programs that cater for early school leavers play an important role in engaging and reengaging students back into schooling, education and training and employment.

Method: A qualitative single case study was employed in an early school leaving program at a TAFE institute in regional Victoria. Data were collected via semi structured face to face interviews with seven TAFE teachers teaching young people in the early school leavers program, and two focus groups of 8 and 10 students.

Unfunded projects

Learning to be safer: Learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

Researchers: Erica Smith and Morgan Wise

The ‘Learning to be Safer’ research project aimed to find out the ways in which Australians were learning about matters to do with four aspects of COVID-19 during mid-2020: health information, restrictions on movement, the worldwide progress of the pandemic and financial provisions. There is as yet no published literature on this topic. This project used an on-line survey, similar to the successful ‘Learning to be Greener’ research project carried out by RAVE researchers Erica Smith, Morgan Wise and Annette Foley in 2019.

View the Federation University Newsroom item on the first 50 responses.

An overview of the findings has been published in ‘Research Today’ October 2020, pages 7-9.

View the survey (docx, 93kb)

Partners and men’s sheds: The broader benefits

Research Team: Annette Foley, Barry Golding and Helen Weadon

The study examines the partners (and carers) of men participating in men’s sheds to better understand what benefits they gained from the men close to them attending a shed. The research was interested in exploring the benefits, including health benefits, for partners in relation to the men’s attendance at the shed, how the sheds were perceived by the partners, and had the relationship changed since the men started to attend the shed. The research questions were:

  1. What are the benefits for the partners of men when the men attend men’s sheds?
  2. Had the relationship changed since your partner went to the shed?
  3. Are there health benefits for partners, and for the men?
  4. What are the social benefits for the partners, and for the men?
  5. What do the sheds mean for the partners in relation to opportunities to learn and socialise?
  6. What impacts are there on partners now that men have a social network away from the partner?

Significance: The project is significant because it has been shown, through earlier RAVE research, that men benefit from attending sheds, through greater community connection, social interactions, sharing skills and through benefits to health and general wellbeing. But there is little research about the impacts on partners or carers.

Method: Data were collected via 17 semi structured face-to-face interviews with partners or carers of men who were attending sheds in Ballarat and surrounding areas.

In addition, several focus groups of men in six sheds in the Ballarat and surrounding areas were conducted

Learning to be greener

Research team: Erica Smith, Annette Foley and Morgan Wise

The ‘Learning to be greener’ project has been studying the way in which Australian adults are learning about specific changes in recycling and waste practices. During 2018, Australians’ daily lives changed quite a lot due to changes affecting plastic shopping bags and recycling practices. We are interested in how people learned about these changes and how people changed their behaviour.

This small pilot project is a sequel to the RAVE research group’s 2009 project ‘Learning to be drier,’ led by Barry Golding, which examined how people living in the Wimmera-Mallee region of Victoria learned how to manage with drier conditions and how they changed their behaviour.

The research comprised an initial focus group and expert interview, examination of publicly-available educational materials on these two matters, and an on-line survey carried out with a population of 1500 adults working at a number of campuses of a regional university.The project has now concluded.

A paper was presented on the initial findings of the project at the SCUTREA conference in the UK in 2019. View the paper on pages 97-106.