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Issues in Educational Research, 2023, Vol 33(4), 1362-1379.
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"Be beside me": Exploring children and young people's visions for belonging and citizenship

Madeleine Rose Dobson
Curtin University, Australia

Victoria Absalom-Hornby
Valuing Children Initiative, Australia

Elizabeth Baca
Curtin University, Australia

This paper reports on a study which focused on surveying children and young people (aged 4 to 17) regarding their experiences of childhood, schooling, family, and community. Participants focused on the importance of their connections to fellow children and young people, their families, and their educators. They identified ways for adults to care for them and to create connectedness and belonging whether at home or school. Participants also spoke to the value of their voices and views, and expressed a desire to be respected and recognised, whether on a personal level or with reference to broader systems such as government. Throughout the study, participants expressed appreciation regarding the opportunity to engage in research that explicitly focused on seeking and honouring their voices and views. For instance, one secondary-aged student stated, "Children can make a difference by sharing their perspective and expressing the way the world feels to them." Recommendations are posed which have heightened relevance for educators, school leaders, and parents/carers. These relate to school culture, learning and teaching, caring for children, and relating to children.
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Authors: Dr Madeleine Rose Dobson is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Care at the School of Education, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Her research focuses on children's rights and social justice. Madeleine's recent projects have focused on the representation of children on social media, caring and trauma-informed pedagogies, and children's connectedness to natural environments.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7615-6974
Email: madeleine.dobson@curtin.edu.au

Dr Victoria Absalom-Hornby has spent 20 years in the UK and Australia enhancing outcomes for children and young people, including clinical roles and various taskforces and steering committees. Victoria continues to work across research and advocacy at the Valuing Children Initiative based in Perth, Western Australia [https://valuingchildreninitiative.com.au/], to ensure children have a voice in an adult-led world.
Email: vabsalom-hornby@valuingchildren.com.au

Elizabeth Baca is part of the Gender Research Network at Curtin University, bringing gender researchers together from a broad range of fields of study. Elizabeth's previous research has covered children's rights, social justice, experiences of sexual violence in Australia, and caring communities.
Email: elizabeth.baca@curtin.edu.au

Please cite as: Dobson, M. R., Absalom-Hornby, V. & Baca, E. (2023). "Be beside me": Exploring children and young people's visions for belonging and citizenship. Issues in Educational Research, 33(4), 1362-1379. http://www.iier.org.au/iier33/dobson.pdf

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Created 15 December 2023. Last update: 15 December 2023. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]