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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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Improving the engagement of Indigenous students in education

While improving students' well-being and ensuring participation of all students are the first steps to improve student outcomes, student engagement plays a crucial role. Engagement in education is a necessary precondition for student learning so that students can develop their skills and enjoy education. Better understanding how to improve student engagement can help support students to remain in education and do well at it. This chapter investigates the role of student engagement in education and the indicators that reflect it. The analysis explores evidence on student engagement and identifies promising policies and practices to improve it. Recognition and integration of Indigenous values and approaches are critical for achieving improvements in this area.

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