Harley met with Learning Creates to describe what it felt like to be caught in a world where he felt either good or bad all the time – without much room for different experiences in between. As someone who learns by doing and making or designing things, Harley finds it hard to focus if he is not actively building, shaping or crafting an idea to fruition. He describes needing the structure of school to learn and be his best, but also needing the freedom to find his own methods. Harley has a number of skills and capabilities that he will have under his belt on completion of year 12, but understanding what gets recognised where is not easy for him to determine.
We caught up with Nathan (not his real name) who shared how limited he felt by the idea that being a good student or learner meant only being good at academic knowledge. Even though Nathan knew deep down that he had social skills and leadership qualities that people valued, it took a new school environment, new friends and specifically trained teachers to point out the many skills and attributes he did possess. And after several years only really learning what he wasn’t good at, this had a major impact on his emotional wellbeing and physical health. Learning to articulate and identify what he could succeed in has been life changing for Nathan. He wants more young people to be able to recognise for themselves what this can mean saying ‘no one should be alone’.
Ben’s story stands out as one that demonstrates that what he has learnt from many very hard and painful experiences have different ways of presenting themselves. While he isn’t suggesting we should describe all trauma as being a way to build resilience, he does touch on a range of invaluable qualities he has gained from his experience as a carer and a family anchor at such a young age. He also links his creative and theoretical skills to a lot of material he needs to express - material that is hard to talk about. Recognising Ben’s abilities means acknowledging what he has had to manage during his life - in a way that he can use and showcase rather than bury or hide.
Learning Creates spoke with Emma (not her real name) who described what schooling is like as a high achiever within a regional town. While she likes that her grades and achievements have been recognised and rewarded, she feels many of her interests and abilities outside of the classroom - like her storytelling, digital and self-care skills don't get counted.
Learning Creates spoke with Jamie (not his real name) to find out how he describes his own learning experiences - at school in the city, on-country in the NT and when creating music. During the conversation it became clear that Jamie feels he has been recognised by the education system for being able to do some things – but not others. The things he values the most are not really recognised in a formal sense even though they are connected to his future career interests. While the evidence is there to illustrate he has potential as a songwriter, story-teller and performer, these skills have not been part of any formal recognition milestones during his journey through secondary school.