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Friday, September 21 • 9:00am - 10:00am
Designing research and evaluation for a complex system: The Stronger Smarter Approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

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Cathy Jackson (Stronger Smarter Institute), John Davis (Stronger Smarter Institute)

The mission of the Stronger Smarter Institute is to create transformative change in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.  Through the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program, we support educators to reject the deficit thinking that comes from a racialized view of education and become agents of change.  In the classroom, the strength-based Stronger Smarter Approach posits that Indigenous students can be both Strong and Smart: students can be both strong in culture and smart in the classroom.

In this presentation we describe how we have developed our evaluation model over several years to work towards an understanding of the question 'When does the Stronger Smarter Approach work best?'  We show how we draw on Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, using the Bunya Bunya Cycle to guide our understanding of a complex problem requiring local solutions.  The Bunya Bunya Cycle moves us away from the Western positioning of the 'researchers' and 'the researched' towards privileging the Indigenous voice and sharing and giving back.  We draw on Complexity Theory to understand Indigenous education as a complex system and the Stronger Smarter Approach as an intervention with simultaneous causal strands. Drawing on Realist Evaluation theory, we assert the agency of educators in choosing how to respond and we show how a strength-based approach leads us to a confidence in the power of educators and Indigenous communities to deliver local solutions.   We describe how these understandings have led us to develop a series of emergent logic models that will continue to be refined as our research evolves. 

avatar for Carol Vale

Carol Vale

Managing Director, Murawin
I am a Dunghutti woman with an extensive career in public sector management and service delivery in the realm of Aboriginal Affairs. My academic background is primarily in the social sciences and leadership development particularly as they relate to overcoming disadvantage. What should... Read More →

avatar for Jana Andrade

Jana Andrade

Research Analyst, Stronger Smarter Institute
Jana is a Brazilian Statistician with experience in business intelligence, quality control, statistical model development, research support in biostatistics, electoral research, lecturing at university and survey development and subsequent result analysis for all research purposes... Read More →
avatar for Cathy Jackson

Cathy Jackson

Head of Research, Stronger Smarter Institute
Cathy joined the Stronger Smarter Institute seven years ago following on from a 20-year career at the Queensland University of Technology. At the Institute, she has responsibilities in designing and managing the overall evaluation program for the Institute’s professional development... Read More →

Friday September 21, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am AEST
Chancellor 4