Indigenous Enabling: What Works? Developing a National Conversation around Enabling Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students through a Comprehensive Audit of Current Provision
Lead University: University of Newcastle
Lead Researcher: Helen Cameron
Research Team: Helen Cameron
Year Funded: 2015
Funding Received: $49,977
The objective of this project was to increase understanding of the role of enabling education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. An audit of existing Australian enabling programs was conducted with the data collected forming the basis of a digital resource. To address further gaps in knowledge, interviews were carried out with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling practitioners and program developers.
- The project had two objectives:
- increase understanding of the provision of enabling education by auditing the existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling programs offered across Australia
- address gaps in knowledge and identify good practice through engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling practitioners and program developers across the country.
- These objectives were met by:
- An audit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling courses was conducted. Data from the audit formed the basis of a digital resource created to increase the understanding and access to information relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling courses.
- Interviews were carried out with practitioners involved in the provision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling courses. Conversations were started, and best practice gaps in knowledge identified.
- The project started a conversation about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling courses with practitioners and course providers.
- The project used the Path+Ways conceptual model which sought to explore current practices in Indigenous access courses, highlighting areas of success, strength and ‘both ways’ as critical elements of success in Indigenous access education.
- The project provided the opportunity for an Aboriginal woman to work on this research project and receive training in research processes, methods, methodologies, interview and analysis skills, NVivo and research report writing.
- Conduct further research into the “Both-Ways” Philosophy (Ober, 2009) as crucial to supporting students in their cultural journey as well as their educational journey.
- Continue to develop academic skills and literacies as a key part of enabling programs as a tool of further learning.
- Continue to provide pastoral support is as integral to success as educational support, and understand this is a key element that must be built into enabling programs.
- Ensure real community engagement with strong ties to the local community as this is integral to the success of any enabling program.
- As enabling and access programs complete their ongoing cycles of evaluation and reflection they should consider the themes identified by this research and utilise them to work toward improving the delivery of their programs.
Summary prepared by the NCSEHE.