Interviews are being conducted with students from three Victorian secondary schools, once a year over a period of four years. The project started with students in Year 10 (15 or 16 years old), and is continuing until they leave school, (Year 12 or earlier), and then following them into the first year after they leave school. Between five and eight students of mixed gender and with range of social class and cultural backgrounds have been selected from each school.
As a qualitative longitudinal study, a key feature of the interviews is that they are repeated over time, allowing for close up study of experiences and views ‘in the making’. The semi-structured interviews involve discussions of significant and ordinary life events, school memories, daydreaming and future thinking, as well as social and personal ethics. Topics discussed include views on gender relations, religion, migration, race, cultural diversity and topical political issues as they arise.
Separate interviews are also being conducted with the students’ parents. These are life history interviews, in which parents are asked to reflect on their own educational experiences and memories of their values, views and hopes when younger. They also invited to discuss their aspirations for their children, thoughts on education today and perspectives on topical social and political issues This is building cross-generational perspectives on school experience, futures and personal ethics, bringing questions of memory, hope and desire into the picture.
The questions and prompts can be found in the Interview Questions section of the website.