16 research outputs found


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    This edited collection by leading Australian Aboriginal scholars uses data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) to explore how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are growing up in contemporary Australia. The authors provide an overview of the study, including the Indigenous methodological and ethical framework which guides the analysis. They also address the resulting policy ramifications, alongside the cultural, social, educational and family dynamics of Indigenous children’s lives

    AIM(E) for completing school and university : analysing the strength of the Australian Indigenous mentoring experience

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    Purpose: Generally, theory and research investigating the effectiveness of mentoring has offered little resounding evidence to attest to mentoring programmes being a strategic initiative that make a real difference in reducing the educational inequities many minority students endure. In contrast to this existing research base, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) has often been cited as one of the most successful mentoring initiatives within Australia. It is the purpose of this chapter to examine how AIME may impact on the educational aspirations and school self-concept of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Methodology: A series of multi-group analyses were centred around Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling techniques that sought not only to explore the psychometric validity of the measures utilized within this study, but also to identify how the measures may be related after accounting for background variables (e.g. gender, parental education). Findings: The results found that the measures utilized held strong psychometric properties allowing an increased level of confidence in the measures used and the conclusion that may be drawn from their use in analyses. Overall, the results suggested that AIME is an effective tool for increasing not only the educational aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students but also their levels (and utility) of School Self-concept and School Enjoyment. Implications: The implications suggest that not only is AIME an essential tool for closing the educational gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal students, but also our understanding of mentoring must be extended well beyond simplistic notions of role-modelling

    Sensational pedagogies : learning to be affected by country

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    Student capacities to actively listen, sense and feel are often relegated to lower order skills in an education system increasingly governed by measurable outcomes. While most school-based pedagogies focus their approach on cognition, this paper considers how we might make sense of the affective experiences that often resist the deep thinking, independent learning and explanation so often required of students. The guiding aim is to explore how affective learning can be better understood through an Indigenous Australian concept of Country. We apply the pedagogical work of Elizabeth Ellsworth, along with Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to explore ways in which sensation and affect are already a method of learning, but ones that are substantially under-valued in designed curricula. A series of interviews with senior Aboriginal people are presented to assist in understanding the various ways in which affect can lead to thought. The authors present three case studies to highlight how knowledge can be taught through affective experiences of Country

    Teacher racism, academic self-concept, and multiculturation : investigating adaptive and maladaptive relations with academic disengagement and self-sabotage for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students

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    The issue of patterns of educational disengagement for Indigenous Australian students has long been of considerable concern within Indigenous education research. Although there is an expanding research base identifying factors that may increase (or decrease) the risk of disengagement for Indigenous students, little acknowledgement has been given to international research highlighting how stigma and discrimination may be associated with student disengagement and the resiliency factors that may nullify these associations. Utilising a sample of 1,376 (305 Indigenous; 1,071 non-Indigenous) students from five New South Wales high schools in Australia, this study sought to examine the influence of academic self-concept and two culturally sensitive constructs-specifically, perceived multiculturation (perceived cultural respect) and racial discrimination-on two disengagement-orientated outcomes: affective disengagement and self-sabotaging behaviour (behavioural disengagement) for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. The findings showed relatively consistent direct and positive effects of academic self-concept and direct negative effect of teacher racism for both groups of students. An interaction effect (discrimination x multiculturation) for the Indigenous students only was also identified, which suggested that the negative effects of racial discrimination on self-sabotaging behaviour are exacerbated when the Indigenous students perceived higher levels of cultural respect from others. Overall, while these findings suggest that promoting higher levels of inter-cultural respect may be beneficial for Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike (e.g., culturally inclusive programmes), such positive perceptions may put Indigenous students at greater risk if the impact of racism is not also addressed. The implications of these findings suggest that cultural safety must be framed both in promoting the positive (cultural respect) and in eliminating the negative (racism)

    Modelling key drivers of school education outcomes

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    This chapter aims to unify the work of previous chapters in developing a deeper understanding of the complex interactions of children’s early life circumstances, pre-school program exposure, developmental readiness for school learning and subsequent academic outcomes. Establishing the relative contribution of these influences in shaping children’s educational progress is vital to the development and effective targeting of policy to enable population-level improvements in children’s educational outcomes

    Identifying the fairy dust effect for Indigenous Australian students : is positive psychology truly a [Peter] Pan theory?

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    The purpose of this chapter is to provide an example of the methodological progress in educational and psychological research focusing on Indigenous Australian students, and how such progress may protect against the risk of accepting Eurocentric theoretical paradigms that more often than not ignore the unique perspectives and experiences associated with being a member of a stigmatised cultural group. More precisely, we shall examine some of the assumptions within the 'new-found' Positive Psychology movement (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) from a quantitative approach to Indigenous Australian Educational research. Critiques of quantitative research involving Indigenous Australians has often stressed such a methodology fails to understand more unique cultural perspectives and experiences that fall outside the lens of limited Western understandings (Fraillon, 2004). Indeed, quantitative research has too often failed to come from the foundation of cultural understanding that may more accurately be understood by in-depth qualitative research. This is especially true for Indigenous and other unique minority groups worldwide. It has been argued that Eurocentric quantitative research was a key tool in the formation of cultural deficit theorising, whereby it was thought that minority group students were deprived of environmental and intellectual qualities that would facilitate educational success (Partington, 1998). Although such deficit reasoning targeting Indigenous Australians has largely been rejected in today's educational research, recent discrepancies between quantitative research and the unique experiences of Indigenous Australians can still be noted. An example of this can be found in research examining the issue of racism

    Another brick in the wall? : parent perceptions of school educational experiences of Indigenous Australian children

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    This chapter refutes negative stereotypes and takes a more positive approach to examine the experiences of Indigenous children in school. Drawing on the data collected for Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) Waves 4, 5 and 6, this chapter analyses how teachers make a difference to the experiences of Indigenous children and families. The chapter also explores the engagement of Study Children and their families with education and the school system over a number of levels. These results are also examined for differences by the level of geographical isolation where the Study Child and family resides

    Explaining away Aboriginality : causal modelling of academic self-concept and disengagement for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students

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    The notion of academic disengagement, regardless of its specific conceptualisation (e.g., cognitive,affective or behavioural) is one that has received considerable attention within the educational and socialpsychological literature, especially with regard to disadvantaged minority groups. Implicit within aportion of the disengagement research is the assumption that notions of disengagement are largely a resultof one’s racial/ethnic identity, thus potentially raising misattributions of the now rightfully maligneddeficit models. With regard to this investigation, the validity of such ‘deficit’ models of disengagementshall be critically and quantitatively tested by utilising SEM causal modelling techniques. Specifically,the causal impact of secondary students’ Aboriginality (Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian) andacademic self-concept will be tested over self-reports of academic disengagement (once a prior measureof disengagement has been accounted for). The results suggest that although Aboriginality held asignificant correlation with disengagement (suggesting that Indigenous students are more likely todisengage from school), the causal impact of this variable is negated when the causal impact of academicself-concept was also considered. The implication of this research suggests that academic self-conceptmay be a key variable to unlocking trends of school disengagement that have been noted for IndigenousAustralian students