Article

The Role of the Residence: Exploring the Goals of an Aboriginal Residential Program in Contributing to the Education and Development of Remote Students

Authors:
  • Central Queensland University Adelaide
  • Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry
If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

Recent media and policy focus in remote Aboriginal education has turned to boarding schools. The general rhetoric is that boarding schools will allow Indigenous Australian students to have access to quality education and to learn to ‘walk in two worlds’. However, to date, there has been very little exploration of the lived experiences of Indigenous boarding schools, either from broader political and sociological perspectives, or from the schools themselves. Furthermore, understanding of how the residential side of boarding constructs the use of time and presents educational and social development opportunities is lacking. This paper aims to begin to address this, by presenting the goals and intended outcomes of a residential program for remote central Australian Aboriginal students. Through analysis of 17 semistructured interviews with residence staff, this paper identifies the two overarching goals of the program, as well as the more specific learning outcomes from which the program expects its students to benefit. The research presented is preliminary data that forms part of a broader PhD study of postboarding school expectations and outcomes for remote Aboriginal students, their families, and their communities.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Residential colleges have the capacity to support the Indigenous students' educational needs in a number of ways. In an early review of a number of residential colleges in the Northern Territory, Dodd, Ungunmerr, Randell, James and Stewart (1977) found that a residence could support the Indigenous students while at school but also implement their own educationally based programs separate from the school (Benveniste, Dawson & Rainbird 2015). In a number of the residential colleges these researchers identified that there were a number of common features that these facilities acknowledged as important. ...
... A further feature that is an important part of most residential colleges is respecting and enhancing the cultural identity of the Indigenous student (Benveniste, Dawson & Rainbird 2015). As part of an early large study, Shimpo (1978) surveyed Indigenous students from a number of residential colleges in Northern Territory and identified that implementing culturally sensitive practices was important. ...
... The Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee (2008) had Indigenous researchers interview Indigenous students and staff and found that a culturally sensitive environment was needed in their context. Furthermore, other studies highlighted additional benefits that may be apparent in providing a culturally appropriate environment (similarly in Benveniste, Dawson & Rainbird 2015). Thies (1987: 43) found that teaching the cultural aspects as "gadiya way" at a residential college enabled the Indigenous student to be more self-confident and also assisted the students interaction with mainstream society. ...
Article
Full-text available
Indigenous Australian students in remote communities are usually encouraged to relocate to a metropolitan city or rural town to pursue a quality secondary education. The aim of this paper is to compare four models of boarding deemed suitable for Indigenous students: hostels, family group homes, boarding schools, and residential colleges. Research specifically on the different types of boarding facilities available in Australia was reviewed to compare the features of each. It was found that hostels and family group homes commonly facilitated home-like environments that Indigenous students favoured. Boarding schools and residential colleges commonly utilised a series of supportive programs in a setting that sometimes emphasised family and community involvement. Residential colleges were also able to implement programs that enhanced the student's educational achievements. Significant overlap was identified, in that all options could provide a safe, secure and caring environment. There were also limitations with each option: hostels and family group homes sometimes implement ineffective behaviour management strategies; and boarding schools and residential colleges were sometimes reported to have overly rigid practices. Possible solutions are suggested which incorporate supportive and culturally appropriate programs but in a home-like environment.
... Such benefits have been described as seeing and learning to interact in the world outside their community (i.e. gaining social capital), skill development through activities previously unavailable to them, and immersion in the dominant language, English (Bass, 2014;Benveniste, Dawson, & Rainbird, 2015). So far, these proposed benefits have generally been discussed at a broader level of intentions of schools and policy makers, and little has been presented on parental and familial reasons for sending their children to board. ...
... As the program is State Government funded (unlike the majority of boarding schools across Australia), students can access boarding with no financial cost to their family, and without rigorous interview or application processes (which are usually required to access private boarding programs). Previous findings from this project have presented the goals and expectations of staff working in the residential program and explored the communication and connection between the staff and families, with each establishing that both staff and families emphasised the need to further understand and hear each other's perspectives (Benveniste et al., 2015;Benveniste, Guenther, Rainbird, & Dawson, 2016). Therefore, we sought here to further consider the perspectives of remote Aboriginal families accessing boarding. ...
... They do sports, bike riding, trips on weekends…' (Participant 4,parent) All of these families had clear responses to why they wanted their children to board, challenging some of the aforementioned deficit-based rhetoric that assert lower student outcomes on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families' lack of value or support for education. In fact, families' responses were quite consistent with the benefits proposed and goals articulated by residence staff, such as skill development in mainstream society, and the capacity to increase their choices and opportunities beyond schooling (Benveniste et al., 2015). These findings also reaffirm that cultural capital is not seen as simply being inherited but that it can be gained with an accumulation of specific knowledge, skills and abilities valued by privileged groups in society (Solórzano & Yosso, 2002). ...
Conference Paper
Increasingly, remote Aboriginal families are being encouraged to transition their children into boarding environments to complete secondary schooling. This comes largely from recent policy recommendations and implementation of a strategic plan to redistribute funding and resources away from secondary education provision in remote and very remote communities in the Northern Territory. Although some suggest that boarding environments are contributing to improved educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across Australia, others have cautioned the need to address the complex considerations that families, boarders, and boarding environments encounter before, during and beyond boarding. With limited data currently available, analysed, or reported on, we propose that careful consideration and understanding of the frontline experiences of boarding providers, families, and past boarders will provide a more solid grounding for current and future policy decisions. This paper presents data from a broader doctoral research project examining each of these, however specifically aims to highlight the experiences of families of boarding students, and their integral role in the boarding process. Encouragingly, increasing awareness and care is being taken by boarding providers to understand parents’ experiences and to guide and support them if necessary. However, to date, limited research presents the perspectives of remote Aboriginal families. Employing a Grounded Theory approach, this project used qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted with 11 participants (parents, caregivers or family members of students in a residential program) from the remote South Australian Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands. Thematic analysis is currently being conducted on this data, however initial findings suggest three key insights. Firstly, the decision to board was not always the parents’ decision, often coming from the students themselves or as a suggestion by community teachers. Secondly, families often navigate between different boarding providers depending on the child, the situation, or their knowledge and trust in particular programs. Finally, support and guidance from parents and family were found to be integral to the outcomes of students who had returned home prematurely (i.e. prior to finishing schooling). This research provides valuable a valuable contribution to the field with stories from families who have and continue to engage with boarding providers. The implications of this research are useful not only to boarding providers but to education departments and policy makers alike as they consider how best to support and engage meaningfully with remote families and communities transitioning in and out of boarding.
... Most of the research has focused on boarding school options and a lot has been learned from this research (Australian Indigenous Education Foundation 2015; Benveniste, Dawson and Rainbird 2015;Benveniste, Disbray and Guenther 2014;Benveniste, Guenther, Dawson & Rainbird 2014;Guenther, Disbray and Osborne 2016;Mander 2015;Mander, Cohen and Pooley 2015a, b; Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee 2008; Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Body 2007. However, boarding school options have specific contextual details not shared with the other options usually, including more stringent selection procedures, often smaller groups of Indigenous students at any one time, higher socio-economic status schools, and the presence of the accommodation on the school property in most cases (English and Guerin 2017). ...
... This study focused on the reputable and widely regarded Wiltja Residential College in Adelaide (PYEC 2008). This residential college had a number of the features that researchers (Benveniste, Dawson and Rainbird 2015;English and Guerin 2017) identified to be critical to a quality boarding facility. These included a separate location from the secondary school that it services, community and parental involvement in the program, and an established recreational and learning program. ...
... These included the opportunity to pursue an education, relationships with other students, and program activities both offsite and onsite. These three facets support the earlier findings of Dodd et al (1977) and Sommerlad (1976) that residential colleges are more than a place to reside and similar to some research on boarding schools (Benveniste, Dawson and Rainbird 2015;Mander 2015;Mander, Cohen and Pooley 2015a, b). The residential time can play a significant role in assisting students to adjust to their new environments. ...
Article
Full-text available
To receive a secondary education, many Australian Indigenous students relocate to a metropolitan city and reside in a residential college. A recent review, however, found that there is little systematic research on the outcomes of boarding options (English and Guerin 2017). This study, therefore, aimed to broaden our knowledge of the features Indigenous students identify can assist them in such residential colleges. Thirty-one female Indigenous students from Wiltja, an Adelaide-based residential college for Anangu secondary students from Central Australia, were informally interviewed (usually more than once) about the features of the program that assisted or hindered their ability to reside at the facility. The results indicated that the students were motivated to be in the program, and that they enjoyed the activities and the new friendships. Evidence that the program was effective was reflected in positive changes in the students' development. Issues that hindered the ability to stay at the residence included homesickness, conflicts, and lifestyle restrictions. However, students also reported a series of support mechanisms that assist them to overcome these concerns. This study provides clarity and further depth to a previously neglected area of research. The findings have implications for the further development of quality and sustainable boarding facilities in the future.
... But there is little independent evidence that it is being achieved. Despite increased research on boarding for remote students in recent years, much of what emerges raises concerns about negative experiences, racism, and failure of schools to adequately care for students (Benveniste et al., 2015;Bobongie, 2017;Guenther et al., 2016;Mander, 2012;O'Bryan, 2016;Osborne et al., 2017;Rogers, 2017), which we will turn to in more detail later. These research projects are largely backed up by recent reports and inquiries initiated by the Australian Government, which detail instances of sexual abuse (Commonwealth of Australia, 2017), inadequate funding arrangements (Commonwealth of Australia and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2017), "revolving doors" of students going in and out of institutions, and "devastating impacts" for students (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs, 2017, p. 117). ...
... Several studies point to students being challenged with their identity because of boarding participation (Bobongie, 2017;Mander et al., 2015;O'Bryan, 2016;Rogers, 2017). The ideal of successfully living in "two worlds" (Benveniste et al., 2015;Osborne et al., 2017) often evaporates into a vain hope (Hunter, 2015;O'Bryan, 2016). Redman-MacLaren et al. (2017) report that: "Students who transitioned back to community after… boarding school reported a lower sense of connection to peers and family, and… even lower resilience and psychosocial well-being scores" (p. 1). ...
Chapter
Boarding schools have played an important role for much of Australia’s colonised history. But in recent years attention has shifted to the role of boarding schools particularly for rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The Northern Territory Government’s 2014 Review of Indigenous Education (The Wilson Review) supported boarding options ahead of local secondary provision for rural and remote students. Scholarship programs are often touted as the solution and while articulated policy on boarding is hard to find, financial support for boarding is not so hard to find. But what has been the impact of this growth in demand? How can it be that so little policy has resulted in so much activity and so much evidence of potential harm? This chapter argues from a theoretical position that the high hopes for boarding have often not materialised because of the hegemonic policy paradigms (or belief systems), which fail to take account of evidence, and which in turn have the potential to create ethically questionable policy. We also challenge researcher ethics in the ‘site’ of boarding. The lessons from this discussion extend to other sites or places and it could be that boarding is one place among many in the rural/remote context where these tensions occur. The chapter concludes by suggesting that critical consideration of the consequences of potentially unethical policy is the first step in moving towards ethically sound boarding provision.
... Many schools adopt a two-way philosophy that allows exchange of knowledge between the student's community and the boarding school. This two-way philosophy is highlighted as good practice in the emerging research literature on boarding for remote students (see for example Benveniste et al., 2015a;Benveniste et al., 2015b;Mander et al., 2015;O'Bryan, 2015). Part of the two-way approach can be achieved with better information from the community. ...
... Many schools adopt a two-way philosophy which allows for exchange of knowledge between the student's community and the boarding school. This two-way philosophy is highlighted as good practice in the emerging research literature on boarding for remote students (Benveniste et al., 2015a;Benveniste et al., 2014;Mander & Fieldhouse, 2009;Mander, 2012;Mander, 2015;O'Bryan, 2015). Part of the two-way approach can be achieved with better information from the community. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In 2005, the CLC Community Development Unit was set up to work in partnership with Aboriginal people to direct their own resources to initiatives that both maintain their Aboriginal identity, language, culture and connection to country and strengthen their capacity to participate in mainstream Australia through improving health, education and employment outcomes. One of the longest standing projects supported by the Unit is the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust (WETT), which the CLC administers on behalf of the WETT Trustee, the Kurra Aboriginal Corporation. In 2016, the WETT commissioned a Review, looking back over 10 years of achievement and looking forward to the next 10 years. The purpose of the Review was to assess effectiveness of the programs and partnerships funded by WETT, to consider new program areas and to ensure that the directions of the Trust reflect and meet the aspirations of Warlpiri community members for learning, education and training in the next decade. The Review was carried out by a team lead by Samantha Disbray (from Charles Darwin University) and John Guenther (from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education [Batchelor Institute]), contracted through Ninti One.
... Boarding schools are largely educational institutions, with many residences deliberately incorporating education into leisure time (or time outside of school) ( Benveniste et al., 2015), or providing space for extra resources such as tutoring, homework support, or facilities to study outside of school hours ( Bass, 2014). Therefore, like the school setting, boarding residences can present a racialised cultural landscape, described by Vass (2014) as; "a space where relationships occur, understandings are shared and developed, and power is expressed and deployed founded on race-based assumptions" (p.178). ...
... Furthermore, Lareau (2015) explains that educational success requires not only academic knowledge and test performance, but also compliance with the rules of an educational organisation. A more detailed analysis of the role and goals of an Aboriginal boarding residence found that time spent in the residence can intentionally supplement students' learning at school, with daily routines and structured activities ( Benveniste et al., 2015). Students learn 'mainstream' skills, and access a range of activities, concurrently gaining experience in the city. ...
... While much of the recent research on Indigenous boarding has focused on qualitative reporting of student, staff and family perspectives on boarding (Benveniste, Dawson, Guenther, Rainbird, & King, 2016;Benveniste, Dawson, & Rainbird, 2015;Mander, 2012;O'Bryan, 2016), to date, few studies have applied mixed methods to the space. Beginning in 2015, a five-year Australian National Health and Medical Research Council funded project has been contributing to this gap through investigating the psycho-social resilience and wellbeing of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Queensland. ...
... Indigenous students who transition from remote community primary schools to mostly urban secondary boarding schools undergo major transitions in: where they live; how they live; the culture they live in (including language/s used); educational standards; roles, responsibilities, and expectations; parental influence; personal freedom; and relationships (Mellor and Corrigan, 2004;Benveniste et al., 2015;Mander et al., 2015a,b). While at boarding school, adolescent students undergo physiological changes, face increased peer pressure, and are potentially involved in risky health behaviors such as alcohol and drug consumption and sexual activity. ...
Article
Full-text available
introduction: Education provides a key pathway to economic opportunities, health, and well-being. Yet, limited or no locally available secondary schooling in remote Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities requires more than 500 Indigenous students to transition to boarding schools. We report baseline quantitative data from the pilot phase (2016) of a 5-year study to explore a multicomponent mentoring approach to increase resilience and well-being for these students. Materials and methods: An interrupted time series design is being applied to evaluate levels of change in Indigenous students' resilience and well-being. Surveys were collaboratively developed, with questions adapted from the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-28), Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K5), and questions which identified upstream risk factors for self-harm. They were completed by 94 students from five randomly selected schools (2 primary and 3 secondary) and one remote community. results: Pre-transition, most primary school students reported high levels of resilience, but only a third reported moderate–high levels of psychological well-being. Secondary students attending a boarding school reported lower scores on resilience and psycho-social well-being measures. Students who transitioned back to community after being from boarding school reported a lower sense of connection to peers and family, and they reported even lower resilience and psychosocial well-being scores. learning outcomes: Students have many strengths and can be adaptable, but their levels of resilience and psychosocial well-being are affected by the schooling transitions they are required to navigate. The findings are informing the development of intervention strategies to enhance student resilience and well-being.
... Similarly, the apparent tension perceived by students between the structure of boarding school and their personal freedoms has been previously identified. Benveniste, Dawson and Rainbird (2015) observed that "adults do not value adolescent behaviours that involve unstructured activities such as 'hanging out''' and "therefore often do not provide the spaces and settings for engaging in less-organised and less-regulated leisure activities" (p. 170). ...
Article
Full-text available
Sense of belonging is a fundamental human need that can affect long term education and health outcomes. It can also be impacted by the design of the built environment, in this case by the interior design of boarding schools. Within the emerging literature pertaining to experiences of boarding school for Aboriginal students in Australia, issues of loneliness, isolation, homesickness, and the feeling of being 'between two worlds' are commonly reported. However, there is currently a dearth of literature that connects these issues with a potential role for design. Therefore, the aim of this project was to address this gap through Participatory Action Research (PAR) in which data was collected through yarning and drawing with 52 participants. 27 current boarders (all Aboriginal people, 2 male, 25 female), 18 recent alumni (All Aboriginal people, 3 male, 15 female), and 7 boarding staff members (1 Aboriginal person, all female) participated. Four themes emerged that suggest a role for interior design in increasing student sense of belonging. These relate to the institutional characterisation of current boarding schools (Place Identity), avoiding 'all or nothing' social interaction through flexible spaces (Interior Relationships), allowing student participation in ongoing interior design (Spatial Voice), and the provision of spaces that offer social and cultural relief (Third Space). These are described in this paper using the voices of the participants. It is proposed that, although these findings report only a particular collection of voices, the potential application of these ideas may be broad and of benefit to many students.
... Previous studies of the perspectives of staff at boarding schools suggest they are largely cognisant of and committed to a role in Indigenous student wellbeing (Benveniste, Dawson, & Rainbird, 2015;MacDonald Gringart, Ngarritjan Kessaris, & Cooper, 2018). A Western Australian study in seven boarding schools, for example, found that school leaders were concerned about the effect of Indigenous students' exposure to previous social trauma and adverse life events and expressed their intent to support students to develop agency and make healthy lifestyle decisions concerning relationships, nutrition, sexual and mental health (Macdonald et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction In recent years, Australian government policies have promoted access to secondary education through boarding schools for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter respectfully termed Indigenous) students from remote communities. These students experience the poorest health of any Australian adolescent group. This exploratory study examines how boarding schools across Queensland promote and manage healthcare and wellbeing support for Indigenous students. Methods Qualitative grounded theory methods were used to sample and collect data from the healthcare and wellbeing support staff of eight Queensland boarding schools using semi-structured interviews. Data were coded using NVIVO software and compared to identify the context, conditions, core process, strategies and outcomes of boarding schools’ healthcare and wellbeing support. Preliminary findings were fed back to school staff and students’ family members for discussion and response at an annual Schools and Communities meeting. Results Boarding school health staff support Indigenous student-centred healthcare and wellbeing by weaving a relational network with students, families, school staff and external healthcare providers. Either through on-site or school-linked centres, they provide students with access to healthcare services, support wellbeing, and offer health education. Through these strategies, they enable students’ participation in education and learning, receive quality healthcare improvement, “move to a better head space”, and become responsible for their own healthcare. Enabling conditions are the professional and cultural capabilities of school staff, school leadership and commitment, compatibility of intersectoral systems and resourcing of healthcare and wellbeing support. Conclusions Boarding schools are doing considerable work to improve the promotion and management of healthcare and wellbeing support for Indigenous students, but there is considerable variation across schools, impacts are not formally monitored or reported, and there are many opportunities for improvement. Working towards a best practice framework, school staff identified a need for a multi-levelled relational model of healthcare and wellbeing support to be iteratively embedded at each stage of the school cycle: at intake; enrolment; term one; and throughout the school year (including in emergencies/crises).
... Benveniste (Benveniste et al. 2015b) as part of her PhD study identifies similar factors, but the outcomes of these are related to wellbeing and care needs of students. Another of Benveniste's papers (Benveniste et al. 2015a) considers boarding residence participation more generally contributing to self-determination and 'walking in two worlds'. Redman-MacLaren et al. (2017) examine the transition experiences of students to and from boarding schools, with high levels of stress and relatively lower levels of resilience reported as outcomes for those who were excluded from boarding schools. ...
Article
Education for Australian First Nations students living in remote communities has long been seen as an intractable problem. Ten years of concerted effort under Closing the Gap and related policy initiatives has done little to change outcomes beyond small, incremental improvements. Programmes and strategies promising much have come and gone, and most have died a quiet death. This apparent failure leaves the context of remote education ripe for the picking. If we can demonstrate what works and why, it may provide an answer to the problem. This systematic review aims to uncover what research reveals about what does make a difference to outcomes for students. The review found 45 papers that provide considerable evidence to show what is and is not effective. The review also found several issues that have little or no evidence and which could be the subject of more research.
... A more detailed analysis of the role and goals of an Aboriginal boarding residence found that time spent in the residence can intentionally supplement students' learning at school, with daily routines and structured activities (Benveniste et al. 2015). Students learn 'mainstream' skills, and access a range of activities, concurrently gaining experience in the city. ...
Article
Boarding schools have been increasingly championed in strategies to move closer to educational equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. However, there is a significant lack of research and evidence on the implications of the boarding environment for Aboriginal students, families and communities. This paper presents a study of an Aboriginal residential program in South Australia. Semi-structured and narrative interviews with 55 participants (including residence staff, family, and past students) reveal the centrality of rules and relationships within this setting. Consideration of these themes from a Critical Race Theory perspective provides a sociocultural basis to analyse the implications of race, racism and power. In doing so, the underlying implications of the boarding model that should be acknowledged, explored and applied in this setting are identified. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
... The research also used a case study approach of a residential program in South Australia, which is accessed mainly by Anangu (people) from communities across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands. Findings are discussed in several prior and upcoming publications (Benveniste, Dawson, Guenther, Rainbird, & King, 2016;Benveniste, Dawson, & Rainbird, 2015;. ...
... Despite the push to have remote Indigenous students board in metropolitan areas, there is not a clear message from research. There is some research on the experiences of moving from a remote community into a city (Mander 2015;Mander, Cohen and Pooley 2015a;Stewart 2015), some on the experiences of boarding for remote Indigenous students (Australian Indigenous Education Foundation 2015; Benveniste, Dawson and Rainbird 2015;Benveniste, Disbray and Guenther 2014;Guenther, Disbray and Osborne 2016;Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee 2008;Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Body 2007), and on the role of parents and communities in this (Benveniste, Guenther, Dawson & Rainbird 2014;English and Guerin 2017). A recent review compared four different types of boarding options (English and Guerin, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
In an attempt to bridge the educational gap, more boarding school options have been proposed by both government and private initiatives but much more research into the specific details is needed (English & Guerin, 2017). The focus of this study was to describe the experiences of 8 key staff at a boarding school collected via a method of repeated informal chats or yarning. The key staff perspectives identified several successful teaching strategies, numerous barriers which prevented student achievement, and a variety of opinions on ways to manage the programs. Increased communication, support and additional training were identified as important factors to prevent staff burnout. Identified themes were subsequently translated into recommendations that were presented to the school in the aim to improve educational outcomes.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Increased focus and attention has been paid in recent years to providing remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with access to high quality schooling opportunities. Often, this requires attendance at secondary schooling away from their hometowns or communities, through accessing boarding schools or residential programs. The stated intents of many of these boarding programs often follow themes of providing equitable opportunities for education, improving opportunities for year 12 completion, increasing participation in further and higher education, and improving employment prospects. However, despite a growing body of qualitative-based research on the expectations, transitions and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families engaging with boarding schools, the outcomes of this education are largely unidentified or reported. This paper draws on the work and experiences of a number of authors who have had varied roles as researchers or practitioners in boarding schools and remote education systems. It aims to synthesise findings from studies conducted on boarding in the past 10 years, and through a collaborative process, explore a range of theoretical approaches that may aid in examining the causal pathways and accompanying mechanisms contributing to boarding school outcomes. In doing 2 so, we propose key areas and directions for future research in this field to inform future and practice.
Article
For many remote Aboriginal Australian students, periods of time during their secondary education are spent living away from home at a boarding school. While financial, political and community support is burgeoning for boarding models that provide scholarships, sports programs or accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, very little academic research or evidence exists that examines the experiences of students post-boarding. This paper forms part of a broader doctoral research study, but specifically focuses on how past students, families and communities from remote South Australia view the outcomes of boarding. Using a Grounded theory design, thematic analysis of 32 semi-structured interviews with past students, families and community members led to the identification of three main themes: connections (early exits), community (re-engaging in education), and context (employment in remote communities). Findings indicated that outcomes are not linear nor easily defined. Developing a theory of change was recommended as a future approach to help families, students and remote schools to clearly define goals and measures of success for each student, recognising a range of interpretations and conceptions of ‘success’, and adapting these goals as necessary.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper is part of a series of systematic reviews presented at AARE in 2017.
Presentation
Full-text available
This presentation was given to a Boarding Australia forum as a keynote address in Darwin on 30 May 2018.
Chapter
This chapter engages in a more detailed discussion of the role played by boarding schools in Australia and throughout the settler-colonial world. These elements all contribute to shaping the lives and futures of First Nations students in Australian boarding schools.
Article
In Australia, boarding schools and residential facilities for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) students have long been part of the educational landscape. Policy settings are paying considerable attention to boarding schools and residential colleges as secondary schooling options for First Nations students, particularly for those from remote areas. Further, First Nations education is seeing increased investment in scholarship programmes, transition support services and establishment of national boarding standards. There is an emerging body of qualitative evidence about the experiences and outcomes of boarding for remote First Nations students. However, in Australia there are no publicly available evaluations showing quantitative impacts of boarding. In this paper, the authors critically examine boarding using three capital theory lenses: social/cultural capital (based on Bourdieu), human capital (based on Becker), and identity capital (based on Erikson). Using these lenses we intend to go beyond an understanding of impact on individuals towards a more nuanced consideration of the social, cultural, health and well-being consequences of pursuing boarding as strategic policy for First Nations students in Australia.
Article
Secondary education access for remote Northern Territory Indigenous Australian students is limited. Although many students attend boarding schools, few complete Year 12. Whole communities rarely engage in their children’s boarding school education and boarding schools seldom engage with Elders to support a child’s cultural journey. This article presents research findings from interviews conducted with two adults from a very remote Indigenous community and six staff from a partner Western interstate boarding school community. Using a qualitative methodology with phenomenological design, findings show how students achieve Western educational success whilst maintaining their culture and offer implications, including possible model replication, for other communities.
Article
Full-text available
Executive functions (EFs) in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve EFs early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children's externally-driven executive functioning, where they are instructed on what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. However, it is less clear how children's experiences relate to their development of self-directed executive functioning, where they must determine on their own what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. We hypothesized that time spent in less-structured activities would give children opportunities to practice self-directed executive functioning, and lead to benefits. To investigate this possibility, we collected information from parents about their 6-7 year-old children's daily, annual, and typical schedules. We categorized children's activities as "structured" or "less-structured" based on categorization schemes from prior studies on child leisure time use. We assessed children's self-directed executive functioning using a well-established verbal fluency task, in which children generate members of a category and can decide on their own when to switch from one subcategory to another. The more time that children spent in less-structured activities, the better their self-directed executive functioning. The opposite was true of structured activities, which predicted poorer self-directed executive functioning. These relationships were robust (holding across increasingly strict classifications of structured and less-structured time) and specific (time use did not predict externally-driven executive functioning). We discuss implications, caveats, and ways in which potential interpretations can be distinguished in future work, to advance an understanding of this fundamental aspect of growing up.
Article
Full-text available
This study compared the degree to which social networking sites and structured extracurricular activities provided adolescents with positive developmental experiences. Given the relatively unique nature of social networking sites as a leisure context for adolescents, and the extremely fast rate at which this leisure activity has been adopted by the majority of youth in countries where the technology is easily accessible, it is important that research explores how this leisure context compares to more traditional extracurricular activities. Adolescents from eight high schools across the state of Western Australia were surveyed. The results showed that traditional structured leisure activities (e.g., sport, art) provided adolescents with more experiences of identity exploration and reflection and positive peer interactions than social networking site use. Further analysis compared differences within social networking site use and found that both the frequency with which an adolescent visited their social networking site, and the degree of investment they had in their social networking site, positively predicted greater experiences of identity exploration and reflection and positive peer interactions. Though social networking sites are a popular adolescent leisure activity, they do not provide the same level of positive developmental experiences that are afforded through adolescent participation in traditional structured extracurricular activities.
Article
Full-text available
ight years ago the journal Transcultural Psychiatry published the results of an epidemio- logical study (Chandler and Lalonde 1998) in which the highly variable rates of youth suicide among British Columbia's First Nations were related to six markers of "cultural continuity" - community-level variables meant to document the extent to which each of the province's almost 200 Aboriginal "bands" had taken steps to preserve their cultural past and to secure future control of their civic lives. Two key findings emerged from these earlier efforts. The first was that, although the province-wide rate of Aboriginal youth suicide was sharply elevated (more than 5 times the national average), this commonly reported sum- mary statistic was labelled an "actuarial fiction" that failed to capture the local reality of even one of the province's First Nations communities. Counting up all of the deaths by suicide and then simply dividing through by the total number of available Aboriginal youth obscures what is really interesting - the dramatic differences in the incidence of youth suicide that actually distinguish one band or tribal council from the next. In fact, more than half of the province's bands reported no youth suicides during the 6-year period (1987-1992) covered by this study, while more than 90% of the suicides occurred in less than 10% of the bands. Clearly, our data demonstrated, youth suicide is not an "Aborigin- al" problem per se but a problem confined to only some Aboriginal communities. Second, all six of the "cultural continuity" factors originally identified - measures in- tended to mark the degree to which individual Aboriginal communities had successfully taken steps to secure their cultural past in light of an imagined future - proved to be strongly related to the presence or absence of youth suicide. Every community character- ized by all six of these protective factors experienced no youth suicides during the 6-year reporting period, whereas those bands in which none of these factors were present suf- fered suicide rates more than 10 times the national average. Because these findings were seen by us, and have come to be seen by others,1 not only as clarifying the link between cultural continuity and reduced suicide risk but also as having important policy implica- tions, we have undertaken to replicate and broaden our earlier research efforts. We have done this in three ways. First, we have extended our earlier examination of the commun- ity-by-community incidence of Aboriginal youth suicides to include also the additional
Article
Full-text available
In resolving an identity crisis, how can better identity choices be distinguished from less promising alternatives? Waterman (1990) proposed that intrinsic motivation, in the form of "feelings of personal expressiveness," serves as a third defining dimension of identity, along with the dimensions of exploration and commitment. Foundations for this perspective can be traced in philosophy to the work of the eudaimonists (e.g., Aristotle, 1985) and the existentialists (e.g., Heidegger, 1927/1962), and in psychology to the work of Horney (1950), Erikson (1958), and Maslow (1968), among others. Findings from a program of research on personal expressiveness are reviewed in terms of their potential for understanding the quality of outcomes to the process of identity formation.
Article
Full-text available
Systematic efforts of assimilation removed many Native children from their tribal communities and placed in non-Indian-run residential schools. To explore substance use and mental health concerns among a community-based sample of 447 urban two-spirit American Indian/Alaska Native adults who had attended boarding school as children and/or who were raised by someone who attended boarding school. Eighty-two respondents who had attended Indian boarding school as children were compared to respondents with no history of boarding school with respect to mental health and substance use. Former boarding school attendees reported higher rates of current illicit drug use and living with alcohol use disorder, and were significantly more likely to have attempted suicide and experienced suicidal thoughts in their lifetime compared to non-attendees. About 39% of the sample had been raised by someone who attended boarding school. People raised by boarding school attendees were significantly more likely to have a general anxiety disorder, experience posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and have suicidal thoughts in their lifetime compared to others.
Article
Full-text available
ABSTRACT  Since the 1970s, “self-determination” has been the dominant trope for expressing national aspirations for Indigenous Australians. Through the principles of self-determination, the liberal multicultural state has attempted to deliver postcolonial justice to its first peoples. In this new century, the sheen of the self-determination era has faded. Once heralded as the antidote to the racist assimilation era, it is now depicted as the cause of social ills. In this article, I draw on an ethnographic study of White antiracists working in Indigenous health in northern Australia to analyze the brand of liberal rationality that dominated the discourse of the self-determination era. By engaging with a “tribe” of White people who identify with the aims of the self-determination era, we can decipher the logic of self-determination as an instrument of the liberal state and better understand the internal contradictions and ambiguities that have led to its recent demise.
Article
Full-text available
A recurring theme in Indigenous affairs in Australia is a tension between maintenance of Indigenous culture and achievement of socio-economic ‘equity’: essentially ‘self-determination’ versus ‘assimilation’. Implicit in this tension is the view that attachment to traditional cultures and lifestyles is a hindrance to achieving ‘mainstream’ economic goals. Using data from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, stronger attachment to traditional culture is found to be associated with enhanced outcomes across a range of socio-economic indicators. This suggests Indigenous culture should be viewed a part of the solution to Indigenous disadvantage in Australia, and not as part of the problem. KeywordsIndigenous-Culture-Wellbeing-Australia
Article
Full-text available
An increasing body of research supports the positive physical, social and psychological health benefits of adolescent involvement in structured out-of-school leisure activities. Analysis of data from 1280 12-17-year-old Western Australian metropolitan high school students, found that several factors were associated with adolescent involvement in structured leisure activities, including parent support of the activity (both active and passive), intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. There were no significant gender differences in the rate of participation or hours spent participating in structured leisure activities overall. More female than male students, however, were involved in structured creative activities and male students spent significantly more time involved in structured physical group activities. Recommendations for supporting adolescent involvement in structured leisure activities are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Self-determination theory (SDT) is used as a framework to understand how women's psychological well-being is influenced by participation in leisure-time physical activity and the social context inwhich activity occurs.Datawere collected during in-depth semistructured interviews with 20 participants and analyzed using constant comparison. Findings indicate women's well-being can be enhanced through casual participation in leisure-time physical activity if activity contexts support interaction between the elements of self-determination: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Participant interactions during activities also play an important role in facilitating well-being outcomes. The findings qualitatively add to understanding and development of SDT as a legitimate psychological construct by explaining the key components of the theory through the participants own words and reflections. Yes Yes
Article
Full-text available
Human beings can be proactive and engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated, largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function. Accordingly, research guided by self-determination theory has focused on the social-contextual conditions that facilitate versus forestall the natural processes of self-motivation and healthy psychological development. Specifically, factors have been examined that enhance versus undermine intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and well-being. The findings have led to the postulate of three innate psychological needs--competence, autonomy, and relatedness--which when satisfied yield enhanced self-motivation and mental health and when thwarted lead to diminished motivation and well-being. Also considered is the significance of these psychological needs and processes within domains such as health care, education, work, sport, religion, and psychotherapy.
Article
Full-text available
The cross-cultural program of research presented here is about matters of temporal persistence--personal persistence and cultural persistence--and about solution strategies for solving the paradox of "sameness-in-change." The crux of this paradox resides in the fact that, on threat of otherwise ceasing to be recognizable as a self, all of us must satisfy at least two constitutive conditions. The first of these is that selves are obliged to keep moving or die, and, so, must continually change. The second is that selves must also somehow remain the same, lest all notions of moral responsibility and any commitment to an as yet unrealized future become nonsensical. Although long understood as a problem demanding the attention of philosophers, we argue that this same paradox arises in the ordinary course of identity development and dictates the different developmental routes taken by culturally mainstream and Aboriginal youth in coming to the identity-preserving conclusion that they and others are somehow continuous through time. Findings from a set of five studies are presented. The first and second studies document the development and refinement of a method for parsing and coding what young people say on the topic of personal persistence or self-continuity. Both studies demonstrate that it is not only possible to seriously engage children as young as age 9 or 10 years in detailed and codable discussions about personal persistence, but that their reasoning concerning such matters typically proceeds in an orderly and increasingly sophisticated manner over the course of their early identity development. Our third study underscores the high personal costs of failing to sustain a workable sense of personal persistence by showing that failures to warrant self-continuity are strongly associated with increased suicide risk in adolescence. Study four documents this same relation between continuity and suicide, this time at the macrolevel of whole cultures, and shows that efforts by Aboriginal groups to preserve and promote their culture are associated with dramatic reductions in rates of youth suicide. In the final study we show that different default strategies for resolving the paradox of personal persistence and change--Narrative and Essentialist strategies--distinctly characterize Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth.
Article
This article analyzes the development of initiative as an exemplar of one of many learning experiences that should be studied as part of positive youth development. The capacity for initiative is essential for adults in our society and will become more important in the 21st century, yet adolescents have few opportunities to learn it. Their typical experiences during schoolwork and unstructured leisure do not reflect conditions for learning initiative. The context best suited to the development of initiative appears to be that of structured voluntary activities, such as sports, arts, and participation in organizations, in which youths experience the rare combination of intrinsic motivation in combination with deep attention. An incomplete body of outcome research suggests that such activities are associated with positive development, but the developmental processes involved are only beginning to be understood. One promising approach has recorded language use and has found that adolescents participating in effective organizations acquire a new operating language that appears to correspond to the development of initiative.
Article
The need to understand the effect of free time contexts on positive behavioral outcomes for youth is driving a large body of research in the area of youth development. Larson proposed the outcome of initiative as a point of study for these contexts. Initiative is demonstrated by persistence through challenge over time and is theorized to develop in structured activity environments that promote intrinsic motivation. Using Larson's conceptualization as a guide, we sought to examine the influence of adolescent motivation and free time activity participation on adolescent initiative. Findings largely support Larson's conceptualization, and add to it by articulating the potentially detrimental effect of amotivation on the development of initiative. The discussion focuses on the relative importance of structured activities to adolescent development and how free time contexts can support these factors through supporting youth's self-determination.
Article
This study explored the racial identity of Indigenous children and youth who attended urban, state and private primary and secondary schools in the Noongar region of urban Perth in Western Australia. Thirty five Australian Indigenous children aged 8–12 were interviewed and 120 youth aged 13–17 participated in focus groups. Transcripts were analysed and common themes were identified by extracting relevant responses and their meanings. The components of racial identity for children aged 7–12 and youth were very similar such that culture, family, language and appearance featured. The most reported element of racial identity for young children was culture which comprised of eight sub- elements. Young people however, reported that a strong sense of self was the most important contributor to their racial identity and it comprised of ten sub- elements. Indigenous youth perceived that their racial identity is exposed to others’ attitudes, values and behaviours because according to them ‘identity is about what you look like and how others see you’.
Article
A sociological analysis of policies related to boarding schools and transracial adoption of indigenous children in Canada, the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand, between the 1860s and the 1980s, demonstrates the similarity of the outcome of these programmes. While undertaken in the name of protection and/or acculturation, these policies and programmes resulted in trauma to the children, their families, and their cultures, as well as in abuses that were in violation of children’s rights as defined by international organizations, in particular the United Nations. Examination of the profound consequences of boarding schools and transracial adoption during this historical period can serve as a guide to humane, effective, and culturally sensitive child welfare policies.
Article
The developmental processes of identity exploration and formation in adolescence often take place within the context of leisure activities. The discovery model of identity formation proposes that these processes are reflected in part by adolescents' subjective identity-related experiences including personal expressiveness, flow, and goal-directed behaviour (Waterman, 1990, 1993). This model, however, has not been tested with cross-national samples. The purpose of this study was to examine the applicability of this general model of identity-related experiences within self-defining activities for a sample of 493 adolescents from the United States, Chile, and Italy. Confirmatory analyses of a three-factor model showed strong invariance across countries. Findings indicated that most adolescents reported high levels of identity experiences within self-defining activities. Results from Multivariate Analyses of Variance indicated considerable commonalities and a few significant differences in these experiences across the three countries and across five broad activity classes. Findings are discussed in the context of the growing literature on adolescent activity involvement and the relation of activities to identity exploration.
Article
The author discusses the boarding school model as a schooling alternative to improve life chances for disadvantaged youth, particularly African American youth, by positively meeting their social and educational needs. Bourdieu, Coleman, and other social scientists purported that these needs can be better met by exposing students to social and cultural capital. In this qualitative study, the environment of a boarding school is studied to determine to what extent they increase students’ exposure to social, cultural, and education capital (Bourdieu, 1977, 1993, 1996). Findings indicate that the boarding school model is successful at increasing students’ exposure to social, cultural, and education capital. Implications include implementing successful practices from boarding schools into traditional day schools.
Article
For over a century, the Canadian state funded a church-run system of residential schools designed to assimilate Aboriginal children into Euro-Canadian culture. In addition to the problems associated with its ethnocentric philosophy, the school system was also characterised by terrible health conditions and physical and sexual abuse of the students was widespread. Recently, the schools have been the object of the most successful struggle for redress in Canadian history. One particularly puzzling aspect about the school system is that it persisted for so long, despite that many of its failings were known very early in its operation. In this article, this puzzle is addressed via a cultural analysis of a political struggle over the residential schools that occurred within Canadian Anglicanism at the outset of the twentieth century. The article concludes that the meaning of the school system as a sacred enterprise contributed to its persistence.
Article
Using a comparative mode of analysis, this article offers a new perspective on Indian assimilation policy in the United States. It focuses on one aspect of assimilation policy common to the United States and Australia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries - the practice of removing indigenous children from their families and communities and placing them in institutions. The article argues that there is a subtle difference in the way that Americans and Australians described "assimilation" taking place - namely, the extent to which white Americans and white Australians openly planned to "whitewash" indigenous identity through interracial relationships. Nevertheless, while children of mixed descent played a very different role in the grandiloquent words used by reformers and politicians to describe their nation's policies, similar ideas about their role in the absorption and eventual disappearance of the indigenous population into the white one can be discerned in both contexts. © 2006 by the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association.
Article
In recent years, an impressive volume of evidence has accumulated demonstrating that youth involvement in structured, organized activities (e.g. school sports, community clubs) may facilitate positive youth development. We present a theory-based framework for studying structured activity involvement (SAI) as a context for positive youth development based on two key dimensions: breadth and intensity of involvement. Our main goal is to demonstrate the separability, salience, and developmental significance of these two dimensions. We review three developmental theoretical approaches (identity development, life-span selection-optimization-compensation theory, and affordances) that support our conceptualization of breadth and intensity as salient and significant dimensions of SAI. We also summarize our recent program of research on SAI demonstrating the separability of breadth and intensity dimensions, which shows links between these dimensions and indicators of positive development. Finally, we discuss how the proposed breadth-intensity approach could be used to extend research on the linkage between youth SAI and successful development.
Article
We examined the validity of the reported link between well-being and leisure participation in adolescents. Nine hundred and forty-seven, Year 10 students from 19 schools in Adelaide, South Australia, were recruited. Participants completed a questionnaire concerning participation in social, non-social and unstructured leisure activities as well as measures of personality. As expected, personality variables were better predictors of adolescent well-being than spare-time use, although engagement in less structured leisure activities was associated with poorer psychological well-being and substance use. These findings support previous personality research which suggests that spare-time use may be related to well-being only insofar as individuals who are psychologically healthy tend to be involved in structured leisure activities. The implications of these findings for school policy and future research concerning the links between leisure involvement and psychological well-being are discussed.
Article
The authors review studies on time use of children and adolescents around the world and discuss developmental implications of population differences. Industrialization and schooling are linked to dramatic declines in time spent on household and wage labor. This labor is often unchallenging, sometimes hazardous; developmental benefits often do not increase above a limited number of hours; hence, reduction in these activities opens time for activities that may be more developmentally beneficial. Adolescents in East Asian postindustrial societies spend this freed-up time in schoolwork, a use associated with lower intrinsic motivation but high achievement and economic productivity. Adolescents in North America spend more time in leisure, associated with greater self-direction but of an uncertain relation to development. Age, gender, and socioeconomic differences in activities and with whom time is spent are also considered.
Personal persistence, identity development, and suicide: A study of native and non-native North American adolescents. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
  • M J Chandler
  • C E Lalonde
  • B W Sokol
  • D Hallett
  • J E Marcia
Chandler, M.J., Lalonde, C.E., Sokol, B.W., Hallett, D., & Marcia, J.E. (2003). Personal persistence, identity development, and suicide: A study of native and non-native North American adolescents. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 68(2), i-138. doi: 10.2307/1166217.
The Australian curriculum: Excellence or equity. A rural perspective
  • Drummond
Drummond, A. (2012). The Australian curriculum: Excellence or equity. A rural perspective. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 22(3), 73.
Investing in sustainable and resiliant rural social space: lessons for teacher education
  • G Lock
  • J Reid
  • S White
Lock, G., Reid, J., & White, S. (2011). Investing in sustainable and resiliant rural social space: lessons for teacher education. Education in Rural Australia, 21, 67-78.
Colonial instillations in American Indian boarding school students
  • R Robbins
  • S Colmant
  • J Dorton
  • L Schultz
  • Y Colmant
  • P Ciali
Robbins, R., Colmant, S., Dorton, J., Schultz, L., Colmant, Y., & Ciali, P. (2006). Colonial instillations in American Indian boarding school students. Educational Foundations, 20(3/4), 69-88.
Indigenous peoples and boarding schools: A comparitive study
  • A Smith
Smith, A. (2009). Indigenous peoples and boarding schools: A comparitive study. Retrieved September 2014 from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/E_ C19_2009_CRP_1.doc.
A share in the future: Review of Indigenous education in the Northern Territory
  • B Wilson
Wilson, B. (2014). A share in the future: Review of Indigenous education in the Northern Territory, May 2014. Retrieved May 2014 from http://www.education.nt. gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/37294/A-Share-inthe-Future-The-Review-of-Indigenous-Education-inthe-Northern-Territory.pdf.
Investing in sustainable and resiliant rural social space: lessons for teacher education
  • Lock
Colonial instillations in American Indian boarding school students
  • Robbins