Perceptions of the Hospital School Experience: Implications for Pedagogy and the Use of Technology

By Rachel Perry, Janet Lynne Currie, Damian Maher and Rosemary Johnston.

Published by The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review

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Whilst many transitions in a child’s life are expected – such as that from primary to high school for example – the transition from regular (and presumably a normal school situation) to a hospital school is likely to be unexpected and potentially difficult. Students are often dislocated from their regular schools for extended periods of time, causing serious interruptions to their education. Engaging with four hospital schools in Australia and New Zealand, this research explores pedagogical and technological implications for these hospital school-located students and their teachers. Focusing on the perspective of various stakeholders including selected students, parents/carers and teachers (n=72), findings revealed issues relating to effective collaboration and transition, teacher professional development, as well as the role of technology in connecting educators and students, and reducing student isolation. Future research needs to accommodate the challenges and strengths as experienced by each hospital school, whilst also identifying common issues reported by all stakeholders. We recommend further exploration of the nature and facilitation of stakeholder relationships, professional development of hospital teachers and the fostering of opportunities for the sharing of practice-based stories. Further research addressing the ways in which technology can be used to overcome the hospital student’s perceived social isolation is also recommended.

Keywords: Hospital Schooling, Technology, Pedagogy, Learning Spaces, Transition

The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review, Volume 20, 2013, pp.9-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 434.243KB).

Dr. Rachel Perry

Project Manager and Lecturer, Australian Centre for Child and Youth: Culture and Wellbeing, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Rachel is manager of a range of projects for the Australian Centre for Child & Youth including Monkey Baa Arts ED Project: Crossing the Line, the Evaluation of the Open House Project and Mt. Druitt Children's Champions Project Community Action Research. Dr Perry and her colleagues received a UTS Teaching and Learning Grant for the project 'New forms of children's theatre: Alternative spaces for engagement'. Rachel has been developing new ways to use drama and technology to enhance teaching and learning at UTS and in rural and remote communities. Though her association with the university dates back to the late 1990s, when she began studying a Bachelor of Education in Primary Education (she’s since completed an honours and PhD), her connection to drama is longer.

Dr. Janet Lynne Currie

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Currie has a background in school teaching, university lecturing, community health promotion and health policy. She has qualifications in education and health promotion. Her research interests focus on investigating the perceived benefits of participation in leisure and physical activity, health promotion policy, marketing and promotion of healthy lifestyles and social and emotional well-being. Janet has designed numerous educational materials in the area of health promotion and exercise including books, videos, teacher and community resources. She is currently involved in creating effective health education messages designed for young males in the school classroom setting, using sport as the key focus.

Dr. Damian Maher

Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Maher is a lecturer in education at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). He has a strong interest in the ways that different communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to support teaching and learning. He both lectures and conducts research on the use of ICTs, with a focus on primary schools. Some areas of interest include whole class technologies such as the interactive whiteboard, as well as on the use of mobile technologies and video conferencing.

Prof. Rosemary Johnston

Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Prof Johnston is head of Learning Cultures and Practices and Director of the Australian Centre for Child and Youth: Culture and Wellbeing at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is lead CI on the ARC-funded project ‘New Ways of Doing School’ and ‘New Ways/Old Ways’, and Director of several other projects involving schools, children and their teaching.