Deakin University

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Learning between schools and hospitals – young people and a curriculum of (dis)connection

Version 2 2024-06-03, 18:02
Version 1 2014-10-28, 09:41
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 18:02 authored by M Dixon
As noted in other papers in this volume, a group of health and education researchers and practitioners came together to further develop their understanding of the situation of young people, who were clients of The Royal Children's Hospital Education Institute in 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. The resultant research project, funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, aimed to understand young people's perspectives on who they are and what matters to them in relation to education connectedness, identity, social relationships, and experiences with professionals. The project team was aware of the persisting patterns of relationships between the hospital, schools, young people, and their families. They were also cognizant of the heavy emphasis in the research and professional literature on evidence from relevant family adults and from health and education professionals. The intention of this project was to put the young people at the centre a study with the stories they told through word and image. Identity issues and school connections framed the analytical work. Thirty-one adolescents dealing with chronic illness participated in this longitudinal qualitative study for a 3-year period of their lives. Given the apparently active role of teachers and health professionals in the lives of these young people, the researchers wanted to include the various relevant adults to see what coherence or lack of coherence existed in the categories, emphases, and values they expressed compared with those of the young people. The researchers have had to determinedly keep their focus on the data from the young people and not be seduced by the familiar and readily accessible data from these professionals. Nonetheless, this data set does provide a ‘curriculum conversation’, which is profitably read behind the stories of the young people and in the foreground of new pathways of curriculum construction. It is this data which informs the work reported in this paper and which has led the researchers to resist the rhetoric of currently held story lines in this field, to see beyond the present hierarchies of power over relevant ‘knowledges’, to maintain a dual focus with the young people at centre stage and the professionals as ‘walk ons /extras’ and to argue for a ‘curriculum of connection’ between young people and the relevant education and health professionals. These issues are readily engaged in arguments for change through the interweaving of larger discourses of inclusivity, curriculum, and policy. This paper works those intersections in the everyday positionings of professionals and young people.



International journal of inclusive education






Abingdon, England







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, Taylor & Francis