Mental health, identity and informal education opportunities for adolescents with experience of living in state care: a role for digital storytelling

S. P. Hammond, Neil Cooper, Peter Jordan

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Abstract

The mental health difficulties and educational trajectories of adolescents with care-experience is a pervasive international concern. This article explores how digital technologies can facilitate self-reflective dialogues and informal education opportunities for adolescents with care-experience. Extracts from vlogs created during an ethnographic project working with adolescents (n = 10, six males and four females, M age = 15.3 years, age range: 14–18 years) and carers (n = 35, ages and gender not sought) in four English residential homes are thematically analysed. Three major themes were constructed: richness of everyday identity; complexities of in care identity; and renegotiating narrative traumas. Themes illustrated how engagement with a blended intervention (featuring digital and face-to-face elements) created opportunities for trusted adults to support the mental health, identity and educational needs of adolescents with care-experience. The paper concludes by critically discussing the educational implications for those working with this group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Early online date25 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Education
  • adolescents
  • digital storytelling
  • focused ethnography
  • state care
  • thematic analysis

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