Improving Services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students: A Critical Study

Tiffany Jones, PhD, Keita Takayama, PhD, Guido Posthausen, Katherine Carter, Brian Landrigan, Debra Bennell, Colin Ahoy, Chloe Parkinson and Carleigh Wallace
School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, Australia

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU029000



Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have historically been marginalised in the Australian education system in multiple ways. A literature review of the field has shown that training of more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers has been a key effort proposed to redress marginalisation, alongside other efforts at making schooling contexts more proactive and inclusive. However, Australian universities’ studies have shown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education students have higher rates of withdrawal from their teaching programs and there is little information on why or how this can be overcome in a practical sense.

Applying a critical approach, this book is distinctive in that it reports on a study investigating why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students succeed and withdraw from education units/degrees. This is based on the university responsible for the producing the most teachers in Australia, and under the advice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reference groups. It draws on data from a survey, discussion-board blogs and focus groups developed with the aid of local communities.

Its findings offer important insights to university administrators and lecturers in education, schools, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and current/returning students of education on such themes as the diversity of this student group, elements that lead to success and elements impacting withdrawal from education programs for the group. The study approached its participants’ experiences holistically, considering contextual elements such as university curricula, support features, advice conduits, and also experiences of racism and cultural sensitivity on teaching practicums, for example. The study allowed opportunities for students to talk about their diverse cultural groups and to narrate their own stories of success and withdrawal directly, so that they contribute to their co-construction in the book. The result is a book that is informative to its stakeholders, but also genuinely affirming of all contributing participants, which concentrates the focus of future actions on institutions rather than problematizing individuals. The final chapter contains a set of clear research-based recommendations that can be enacted. (Imprint: Novinka)

Inner Flap (Start)


List of Tables and Figures


Executive Summary

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Design of the Study

Chapter 3. Diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students

Chapter 4. Why Choose a Teaching Degree?

Chapter 5. Achieving Success at University

Chapter 6. Seeking Support at University

Chapter 7. Improving University Services

Chapter 8. Conclusion and Recommendations



Inner Flap (End)


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This book is aimed at supplying relevant theory, stories, statistics and practical steps to:
- University administrators,
- Lecturers in education,
- School administrators,
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are future/ current/ returning/ ex students of education,
-Other interested stakeholders such as RHD students in the field

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