Aboriginal Voices: Working to transform the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

Year: 2017

Author: Lowe, Kevin, Burgess, Cathie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

All of those who work in Aboriginal education have developed an understanding for the challenges involved in transforming the embedded inequalities in this area. They are cognisant of the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of intergenerational educational underachievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The Aboriginal Voices project is a holistic, whole school and community, long-term project that aims to fundamentally change the structures and practices that have for too long inhibited Aboriginal student, parent and community engagement and educational success for Aboriginal students.
The presentation will outline the development of this project, and the foundational framework that will support the educational needs of Aboriginal students, the aspirations of their families and communities, and the epistemic, professional and pedagogical needs of teachers and principals to affect these changes. The presenters will discuss the research that has informed the thinking behind the program, and guided the whole-of-system professional learning model used to underpin the development of the Aboriginal Voices program. In particular the presentation will draw together findings from a multi-site case study that explores the overall educational, social and cultural experiences of Aboriginal students in six NSW high schools, and how these impact on student educational success. The findings will also include findings of a wide-reaching systematic review of research across 11 key elements that are seen to impact on the development and implementation of education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.