As Australian students move through the education system they are becoming less hopeful about their future, a new Gallup poll has found.
The survey from 9000 Year 5-12 students across 27 participating schools throughout Australia measured the hope, engagement and wellbeing of students.
It found only 45 per cent of students could be described as hopeful about their future, coupled with a declining engagement with their school. Engagement encompasses involvement in and enthusiasm for school, while hopeful students have strong belief that the future will be better than the present. Engagement is at its lowest in Year 10 at 36 per cent, as Gallup researchers found that students are losing confidence as they move through their school years.
Other measurements include feelings of being stuck, discouraged, actively discouraged, thriving, struggling and suffering. Gallup defines these as the following:
Stuck: these students generate little momentum toward the future.
Discouraged: these students lack ideas and energy for the future.
Thriving: these students think about their present and future life in positive terms. They tend to be in good health and have strong social support.
Struggling: these students lack positive thoughts and experiences. They tend to worry about meeting the daily demands of life.
Suffering: these students think about current and future life in negative terms. They tend to have less access to basic needs (e.g., good food and healthcare).
Engaged: these students are highly involved with and enthusiastic about school.
Not Engaged: these students are present but not involved with or enthusiastic about school.
Actively Disengaged: these students undermine the educational process for themselves and others.
Key highlights include students are overall:
• 45 per cent hopeful, 38 per cent stuck, 17 per cent discouraged
• 55 per cent engaged, 28 per cent not engaged, 17 per cent actively disengaged
• 59 per cent thriving, 39 per cent struggling, two per cent suffering
The reports said that results from the survey indicate that there is a gap between educators’ well-intended efforts and what students are thinking and feeling.
“To bridge this gap, educators should monitor and more strongly consider the behavioural aspects of education, focusing more heavily on the uniqueness of individual students along with standardised testing. Standardised testing should not be the only metric considered.”
The report said educators must concentrate on developing students’ critical problem-solving skills, on developing their entrepreneurial spirit and on teaching students how to use their individual strengths to succeed.
“This requires teachers to know and understand students’ strengths and what they do best every day, helping them become excited about the future.”