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Culturally Responsive Schooling: Improving Teachers capacity to connect student life worlds and curriculum.

Keynote 4 | Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney AM | Friday 2nd August, 9:00am | Grand Ballroom


International research investigating low outcomes by schooling toward Aboriginal and superdiverse learners highlight how a diverse and inclusive curriculum in themselves are not enough to shift learning disparities. In addition, findings of the Australian Teachers’ Survey 2023 reported 51 per cent of teachers sampled aged 35 years and over felt unqualified to deal with Aboriginal content and student diversity. This presentation draws on a qualitative teacher practice study (Rigney and Hattam 2019, 2022, 2023), that examines improving teachers’ capacity to connect Aboriginal and diverse student lifeworld’s to curriculum using culturally responsive pedagogies for equitable, quality schooling. This paper draws on a three-year study of 4 schools involving qualitative (policy analysis, analysis of interviews, and case studies) methods to identify the whole school impact of teacher as research practitioner of their own practice in connecting the curriculum to Aboriginal and diverse student life worlds. Findings indicate refining school systems toward improving Aboriginal and diverse students’ outcomes requires schools to be learning organisations where teachers are engaged in learning to research their practice. This presentation examines the overall design and some initial findings across the different dimensions of the study.

Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney AM

Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney AM, Professor of Education, School of Education at UniSA, Co-Chair Pedagogies for Justice Group, Centre for Research in Educational and Social Inclusion, Education Futures, UniSA

Professor Rigney is a citizen of the Narungga Aboriginal Nation. He is Co-Chair of the Pedagogies for Justice Research Group, Education Unit, University of South Australia, and member Centre for Research Education in Social Inclusion. In 2023 he has been Appointed by the Federal Minister to Review the Australian Higher Education sector. Dr Lester-Irabinna Rigney is esteemed Professor of Education in the School of Education at University of South Australia. Professor Rigney is Distinguished Fellow at Deakin University and previous Distinguished Fellow at Kings College, London. In 2021 Professor Rigney was appointed member in the General Division (AM) for significant service to Indigenous Education and to social inclusion research. He is Co-chair of Pedagogies for Justice Research Group and member of the Centre for Research in Educational and Social Inclusion, Education Unit. He is a member of the Centro Loris Malaguzzi Scientific Committee, for the Foundation Reggio Emilia Children. One of Australia’s most respected Aboriginal educationalists. He is well published and has led several research teams funded by the Australian Research Council and other competitive grants including: Indigenist Research Epistemologies; Addressing the Gap between Policy and Implementation: Strategies for Improving Educational Outcomes of Indigenous Students; Culturally Responsive School; and Towards an Australian culturally responsive pedagogy.

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