Round pegs in square holes: an ethnographic study of the educational lifeworlds of Aboriginal Australian students

PhD Thesis


Guy, Jillian. 2015. Round pegs in square holes: an ethnographic study of the educational lifeworlds of Aboriginal Australian students. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Round pegs in square holes: an ethnographic study of the educational lifeworlds of Aboriginal Australian students

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorGuy, Jillian
SupervisorAustin, Jon
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages213
Year2015
Abstract

Within the Australian education system one particular type of knowing is valued. This is evidenced by the mania that surrounds the national curriculum and standardised testing, such as the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy. It is through these instruments of official knowledge that students are labelled as learning successfully and ‘other’ learning is silenced. It is within this climate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are represented as educationally incapable. Inspired by this deceitful discourse, this dissertation explored the educational lifeworlds of five Aboriginal, male students. This project utilised photo elicitation methods to uncover the complexity of the participant’s educational lifeworlds. Narrative analysis was engaged with to reveal five main themes that connected with concepts surrounding identity, families, formal schooling, employment and cultural knowledge. The project concludes that there needs to be a transformation with how education is conceptualised and provided, so that all cultures and types of knowing are valued and acknowledged. Recommendations about how this can be accomplished have been proposed.

KeywordsAustralian, education system, literacy, numeracy, successful learning, learning, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, shortcomings
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020450299. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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