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Tuesday, September 17 • 11:00am - 11:30am
Stories of strength: using educators' reflections on implementing a strength-based approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education to understand mechanisms for change

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

The Stronger Smarter Leadership Program (SSLP) is a professional development program that promotes a strength-based approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, challenging educators to examine their personal beliefs. Evaluation for the SSLP covers all levels of the Kirkpatrick model including participant satisfaction, behavioural change, and use of ideas, tools and strategies in the workplace. In this presentation, we focus on one aspect of the evaluation around how participants examine their underlying beliefs and challenge deficit thinking with regard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education. We describe how a Realist Evaluation approach helps understand the mechanisms occurring both during the professional development program and afterwards in the workplace that are resulting in participants changing their thinking and behaviours.

We describe the results of a series of semi-structured interviews with 50 program participants who had undertaken the SSLP between 6 months and 10 years prior to the interview taking place. Participants included both Indigenous and non-Indigenous principals, teachers and teacher aides. The interviews were conducted with open questions to allow participants to steer the interview and choose the stories they tell. We look at how participants describe how they had 'opened their eyes' with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and are actively challenging deficit thinking. This in turn leads to building school-wide understandings of high expectations for all students and working together with school communities. Collecting these stories of strength is an ongoing process that helps refine the evaluation process allowing a gradual deepening of the questions as logic models and mechanisms for change become apparent.

avatar for Linda Klein

Linda Klein

Deputy Director Research & Evaluation, GP Synergy
Linda Klein, BSc MSc PhDI have an academic background in psychology and public health, with over 30 years of practical experience in evaluation in sectors spanning health, education/training and business. At GP Synergy, I take primary responsibility for the evaluation of educational... 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 →

Tuesday September 17, 2019 11:00am - 11:30am AEST