University Of Tasmania
152691 - School is not for me.pdf (317.85 kB)
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'School is not for me': young people's perceptions of being a self-directed learner in a small rural Tasmanian town

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 12:37 authored by Merete SchmidtMerete Schmidt, Can Seng OoiCan Seng Ooi, Rebecca ShelleyRebecca Shelley
The Education Act (2016) was introduced in Tasmania to address the state's high rates of early school leaving. Such legislative reforms may overlook informal factors that influence educational outcomes. In this paper we argue that a deeper understanding of the underlying drivers of retention and engagement in diverse social and cultural contexts is vital in supporting the Education Act. Drawing on qualitative data, this paper provides insights into how a group of Grade 10 students in a small rural town in Tasmania made the choice to leave school early or continue on to some form of post-compulsory education. Using Berger and Luckmann's theory of sociology of everyday life together with Bourdieu's (1990) concepts of social and cultural capital, this paper highlights how perceptions of being a self-directed learner and feelings about the future shaped the young people's educational decisions. It emphasises how a localised form of social and cultural capital was associated with feelings of failure and anxiety about future learning, whereas a broader form of social and cultural capital was linked with more optimistic perceptions of being a self-directed learner. The paper suggests that the career aspirations, including university study, of young people living in regional areas may be supported through familiarisation with larger regional towns and raising their awareness of post school options.


Publication title

Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching








School of Social Sciences


Kaplan Higher Education Academy

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Social ethics; Learner and learning not elsewhere classified