Increasing Student Engagement in Australia
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Increasing Student Engagement in Australia


It’s well documented that student engagement at school is a precursor for student success, both at school and beyond. The difficulty for school leaders is that student engagement is a complex issue. We cannot simply focus on metrics such as good classroom behaviour, attendance or even marks and results. Instead evidence shows we need to foster a deep connection with learning. Researchers and theorists have put many frameworks around this concept over the years, such as Kolb’s experiential learning or the concept of heart, head and hands. Whatever the language, we can surely all agree that if students are not engaged in school, they won’t put forth their best effort and student success suffers. In fact, Australia’s Gallup Student Poll found that engagement declines significantly over time, dropping from 74 percent engaged in Year 5 to just 51 percent in Year 12.

As students learn to navigate the changing world of education and ultimately a career many students are asking educators, “What’s in it for me?”, “How does this apply to my future”, or “When will I ever use this?”. Gallup’s research shows that when schools focus on students’ strengths, and when students have one teacher who makes them excited about the future, they are 30 times more likely to be engaged in school. Further, when students have identified exciting career opportunities and a higher education path to help them reach those goals, they will see how school today can help them in the future. Clearly we need to establish processes (or more importantly a culture) in our schools that fosters a greater connectedness between a student’s activity in school, their innate strengths, and their career aspirations.

Why does this matter now more than ever?

Career exploration is more important than ever when it comes to preparing youth for the changing employment market. Australian Bureau of Labour Statistics figures show youth unemployment at more than 12 percent and drop-out rates in apprenticeships at 50 percent, and nearly one in five students drop out of university in the first year of study. At the same time, industries are struggling to find skilled people to fill well-paid jobs. In Australia, there were more than 172,000 job vacancies in February 2016, an increase of 3.1 percent from November 2015.

When job placement after graduation is not guaranteed, students need exposure to all their potential higher education and career options so they can make the best possible decisions about their future. Hobsons has a strong history of providing quality career and course data to students, families, and education and training institutions in Australia, but what we’ve learned over the years is that providing quality data alone isn’t enough to solve these issues.  We need to foster greater collaboration between educators and students to ensure that quality data gets put to good use. 

We’re not just careers listings. We’re not just higher education listings. We support engagement by helping students connect the dots between what they’re doing in school and what they aspire to do in life. And, we help educators support that effort through robust workflow tools that improve their operational efficiency and deliver greater insight into how students are tracking towards their progress. No other provider in Australia does that the way we can.

That’s why we are excited to offer Naviance by Hobsons, a global postsecondary planning tool already used by 8 million students worldwide to explore in meaningful ways the connection between education and careers as they progress through school.

Naviance is a comprehensive solution that helps secondary school students identify their strengths, explore careers, and match to best-fit Australian and international postsecondary education opportunities. Naviance helps in the following critical areas of student success:

  • Self-Discovery
  • Career Exploration
  • Higher Education Planning

Equally important to student success is educator and family support. Naviance includes an educator portal that enables staff to stay closely informed on students’ aspirations, and facilitates a much richer conversation about students’ futures. Families can engage in the process through the Naviance Family Connection portal.

What are you doing to help students connect learning to life?

Hobsons is pleased announce a national survey about the current state of student preparation for life after high school.  

We invite all Australian secondary school personnel who are involved in students' career and tertiary preparation to participate in this national survey.

All participants will receive a complimentary copy of the survey report highlighting new insights into advising students and providing benchmarks for counsellors to compare their schools’ programs to national practices.

David Savill

David Savill

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