Many Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are regularly posted intrastate, interstate or overseas. Consequently, school-aged children of military personnel often experience regular relocations, resulting in numerous school transitions and multiple school experiences. Existing research indicates that student mobility is often viewed as a deficit, negatively impacting academic achievement (Garner et al., 2014; Isernhagen & Bulkin, 2011; Stites, 2015; Weatherwax, 2017). Building friendships and forming trusted relationships can be significant social challenges for students who relocate to a new school and social-emotional development is impacted by frequent mobility (Boon, 2011; Finkel et al., 2003; McLeod, Heriot, Hunt, 2008; Ruff & Keim, 2014). The effects of interrupted schooling for this population group are thought to be intensified through repeated relocation (Baumann & Van Rensburg, 2020). Despite this mobility research, far less is known about the nature and impact of the education experiences of Australian military-connected students specifically who regularly relocate and attend multiple school settings. This research seeks to give agency to recent school graduates who have regularly relocated with a parent in the ADF and gain an understanding of their lived education experiences.
The conceptual framework for this study is shaped by existing literature and frameworks on mobility and military-connected students (Bull, 1999), cultural capital theory (Murphy, 2021) and third culture kids (Pollock et al., 2017; Purnell & Hoban, 2014), and is underpinned by a social constructivist paradigm (Creswell, 2013). Findings from this research will help to build a deeper understanding of the education experiences of Australian mobile military-connected students which may assist in identifying strategies and circumstances that facilitate successful education experiences for students who regularly relocate. A comprehensive understanding in this area may support teachers, schools, parents, and defence communities to support and encourage more equitable provision for these mobile students and other peripatetic groups.
For more information or zoom link, please email the Graduate Research School or phone (07) 4631 1088. The zoom links are included in the ReDTrain Bulletin.