Teddy bears, citizenship and un/educational safety in Aotearoa New Zealand during Covid-19

Marta Estellés, Gustavo E. Fischman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this article, we draw on qualitative data from the experiences of five schools during the Covid-19 crisis in Aotearoa, New Zealand, where the word 'safety' has become paramount in educational debates (Sullivan, 2014). The study explores the educational and political tensions created by concerns about safety at schools in these unprecedented times. Our methods for data collection included semi-structured interviews with nine teachers and principals, five focus groups with thirty senior students (16–18 years old), analysis of school public documents, and observational field notes of school settings. Our data shows that an ill-defined idea of safety entered into direct tension with the students' rights to schooling and citizenship. In the focus groups, participants pointed to the tensions between educators' good intentions —creating safer environments—and the imposed restrictions on students to express doubts, voice needs, and make their own decisions in the schools, resulting in fewer learning opportunities to understand a complex social world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102736
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Development
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizenship
  • Educational opportunities
  • Safety
  • Unlearning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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