Backboards to blackboards : rebounding from the margins ; a critical auto/ethnographic study of the struggle for culturally-sensitive educational pathways for Aboriginal girls
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This PhD research journey describes my personal and professional involvement with the Yolngu, Nyoongar and Wongi peoples, where I consistently observed Aboriginal parents and Aboriginal teachers express dissatisfaction with the way mainstream Anglo-Celtic education was delivered in their schools and communities. This disparity never sat well with me and I had always wanted to write about the unacceptable inequity.As a consequence this doctoral research deploys a critical auto/ethnographic research design within an interpretive paradigm where “the writing process and the writing product are deeply intertwined”. The research became the site of exploration about the struggle for culturally-sensitive educational pathways for Aboriginal adolescent girls.The investigation took place at a metropolitan Aboriginal secondary school, where staff developed an emergent curriculum framework known as the Yorgas Program to re-engage Aboriginal learners in their schooling, through a sporting program known as the “Girls‟ Academy”. As a consequence of the Yorgas Program there were observable improvements in the girls behaviour leading to regular attendance, improved personal hygiene, greater commitment to study, self-regulation and willingness to defer risk-taking social behaviours resulting in a significantly larger number of Year 12 graduates completing their studies with the majority of students going on to traineeships or further studies.
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