Out of sight, out of mind : truancy, through the lens of five Māori 'truants" : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters degree in Education at Te Kupenga o Te Mātauranga/Massey University College of Education, Palmerston North
Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Truancy, through the lens of five Māori 'Truants'. "But I feel sorry for our kids, because I know once they get outside the gates, a lot of [teachers] are saying.... "Out of sight, out of mind- they're not my problem". And then, the next group- they're complaining or handing out statistics of how many Māori people are in institutions" (Simon, 1993, p. 21) Defining the cause and solutions as to why Māori students truant by non-Māori definitions can be problematic, especially if it creates a profile based on stereotypes and assumptions. It is likely that truants and their backgrounds are viewed as culturally deficient, socially inept and intellectually ignorant about the value of education. Furthermore, truancy linked to 'at risk' youth, creates discourse not only about the 'truant', but also about their families. Such discourse might construct them as also being "abnormally integrated, socially irresponsible and morally defective (Jacka, Sutherland, Peters & Smith, 1997:10). Current literature provides definitions of truancy and descriptions of a culture of schooling, where some students have found it very difficult to 'fit'. For those who do find space in the classroom, it can come at a cost. 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' examines truancy, through the lens of five Māori students in order to provide some understanding of some of the causes behind this social phenomenon. It is anticipated that the results of this study will contribute to more positive outcomes on education for Māori students in the mainstream education system. Interviews with a small group of Māori students and their parents, reveal their experiences in mainstream schooling, and identify areas of concern that escalated into their student's decision to withdraw from school. Initially, withdrawals were from individual lessons or subjects, escalating into withdrawing for whole days at a time.