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Promising Practices in Supporting Success for Indigenous Students

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Indigenous peoples are diverse, within and across nations. However, Indigenous peoples have experienced colonisation processes that have undermined Indigenous young people’s access to their identity, language and culture. At the same time, Indigenous children have not generally had access to the same quality of education that other children in their country have had access to. These two forces in combination have undermined the educational opportunities and outcomes of successive generations of Indigenous children and young people, at times with catastrophic effect.

The six Canadian provinces and territories that participated in this study, along with New Zealand and Queensland (Australia), are actively seeking to better meet the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous students and their families.

The report seeks to identify promising strategies, policies, programmes and practices that support improved learning outcomes for Indigenous students and to build an empirical evidence base on Indigenous students in education. The study investigates four areas in Indigenous education: well-being, participation, engagement and achievement in education. These outcomes are inter-connected and mutually reinforcing, and each is essential for the success of every student.

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Approach, objectives and methodology of the study on Indigenous students and education

This study aims to understand the experiences of Indigenous students and to identify successful strategies, policies and practices to support their success. Four Canadian provinces and two territories participated in the study, and New Zealand and Queensland (Australia) provided data and other information to enrich the study. The report looks beyond student attainment and achievement to include well-being, participation and engagement. Well-being is a very prominent consideration from an Indigenous perspective, and it is of key importance to any approach to student success. Indigenous perspectives need to be genuinely recognised and not be considered as simply an add-on to the main goals of education. In fact, those perspectives fit closely with aims informing educational development around the world, including the major global objectives for education, of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. While we have sought policies and practices underpinned by evidence of success, the lack of evaluation is problematic regarding education for Indigenous populations.

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