a1 School of Education, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South, New South Wales, 1797, Australia
This article directly responds to issues impacting on the social and academic outcomes of Indigenous students that were identified in the recent review of Aboriginal Education conducted by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training (NSW DET) in partnership with New South Wales Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (NSW AECG). Not surprisingly, a common theme emerging from the review was the importance of student motivation and engagement for Indigenous students of all ages. The article reports on current research into the motivation, engagement and classroom pedagogies for a sample of senior primary Indigenous students. What is of particular interest is the cultural interplay of the lived experiences of these Indigenous students with schools, teachers and classroom pedagogies. Important questions arise from an analysis of this interplay about what might “free the spirit” for these and other Indigenous students.
Associate Professor Geoff Munns lectures in pedagogy and curriculum in the University of Western Sydney's School of Education and is a member of the Centre for Educational Research (CER). He has more than 25 years teaching experience in primary schools (including executive roles as Assistant Principal and Principal). His research interests focus on improved educational outcomes for students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds (including Indigenous students). In particular he is interested in how these students can become engaged in their classrooms and subsequently develop a long-term commitment to education.
Associate Professor Andrew Martin is International Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. His areas of research interest include student motivation and engagement, pedagogy, parenting, and quantitative research methods.
Professor Rhonda Craven is a Professorial member of the Centre for Educational Research (CER), University of Western Sydney and Co-Director of the Global Self-Concept Enhancement and Learning Facilitation (SELF) Research Network. Her research interests include: the effective teaching of Aboriginal Studies and Aboriginal students, strengthening education for disadvantaged students; maximising life potential in diverse settings; the structure, measurement, development, and enhancement of self-concept, academic achievement, and educational outcomes; and interventions that make a tangible difference in educational settings.