Turning points in Indigenous Education: New findings that can really make a difference and implications for the next generation of Indigenous Education research

Year: 2005

Author: Craven, Rhonda

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Indigenous Australians have been recognised by all Australian governments as the most educationally disadvantaged Australians. As such, Australian education has failed to provide Indigenous Australians with commensurate educational outcomes as their non-Indigenous peers. In part this failure can be attributed to a dearth of quality Indigenous Education research. Recently three large-scale commissioned Department of Education, Science and Training studies have been undertaken (Craven, Tucker, Munns, Hinkley, Marsh, and Simpson, K.; in press; Craven, Halse, Marsh, Mooney, & Wilson-Miller, in press-a; in press-b). The findings of these studies offer some potentially powerful turning points for Indigenous Education. The first study critically analysed secondary Indigenous students' (N=517) self-concepts; aspirations; and perceptions of barriers to attain their aspirations in comparison to their non-Indigenous peers (N=1151) and important implications for reconceptualising educational strategies for Indigenous secondary students were identified. The remaining studies critically analysed the impact of undertaking an Aboriginal Studies teacher education course on pre-service and postgraduate primary teachers' abilities to teach Aboriginal Studies and Aboriginal students in comparison to control groups who had not undertaken such courses. Results demonstrate that Aboriginal Studies teacher education courses make a positive difference. These studies also have important implications for strengthening Indigenous Education research. The purpose of this paper is to present the: a) empirical results of these investigations; b) implications of the findings for Indigenous Education; and c) implications of this research for strengthening the next generation of Indigenous Education research.