Aboriginal student stories, the missing voice to guide us towards change

Michael J. Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Despite decades of policy and practice oriented at improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal students in Australia, achievements on most measures indicate that there is a long way to go in this endeavour. One avenue for improving Aboriginal education that has received little attention is accessing the views of Aboriginal students themselves about best practice in engaging Aboriginal students. While there is a body of research in education that attempts to privilege ‘student voices,’ little work has explicitly focussed on accessing the voices of Aboriginal students. This paper reports on my study that involved asking Aboriginal students their views on schools, teachers and the curriculum in culturally safe discussion spaces. The Aboriginal students highlighted the need for their culture to be represented at schools and the recognition of their Aboriginality in safe environments at school. These findings reinforce the importance of engaging with Aboriginal people in the development of best practice so as to build Aboriginal understandings within a Western educational system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-625
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Educational Researcher
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aboriginal education
  • student voice
  • pedagogy
  • narrative
  • Aboriginal cultural knowledge


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