Educational change and youth voice : informing school action on cyberbullying
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AbstractChange is a regular part of school life. Educational innovations are constantly being implements in order to benefit students, improve outcomes and meet the obligations and accountability demands of governments. Rapid social and technological change has occurred within and around schools during the past 15 or more years, impacting upon curricula and pedagogies. Simultaneously, there has been a trend towards incorporating youth voice, where young people share in the decisions that will impact on their school experiences (Mitra, 2008a, 2004). Most recently, with the advent of the first National Australian Curriculum (McGaw, 2010), there is an imposed curriculum change, which reflects the growing global trend towards centralised control over what students learn in school (Zhao, 2011) and highlights that schools have to respond to change from all levels. Spears (in press) also notes that parents are raising children in an increasingly wireless world which is far removed from the one in which they were raised. Educators are teaching in schools that are vastly different technologically from those they knew as children and adolescents, or even those in which they were teaching a decade ago. Children born in 1995, the year when the Internet was first commercialised, are 16 years old in 2011 and, whilst parents may have embraced technological advances in their own adult working or social lives, they are yet to fathom fully what it means for their children and their relationships: to be educated and to socialise in the midst of mobile social media. Young people have greater access to more information than at any time past and move seamlessly between online and offline environments, often referring to them as ‘the same life’ (Spears, Kofoed, Bartolo, Palermiti and Castabile, in press). Along with these changes has come the transformation of traditional forms of bullying to cyberbullying, amid the public perception that bullying generally is becoming worse in schools.