Speaking back to the deficit discourses: a theoretical and methodological approach

Abstract

The educational attainment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is often presented within a deficit view. The need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to challenge the societal norms is necessary to contribute to the struggle for self-determination. This paper presents a theoretical and methodological approach that has enabled one researcher to speak back to the deficit discourses. Exemplification of how Indigenous Critical Discourse Analysis (in: Hogarth, Addressing the rights of Indigenous peoples’ in education: A critical analysis of Indigenous education policy, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 2016) identifies the power of language to maintain the inequitable positioning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Australian society is provided. Particular focus is placed on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010–2014 (in: MCEECDYA, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan (2010–2014), 2011) and how policy discourses ignore the historical, political, cultural and social factors that influence the engagement and participation of Indigenous peoples in education today. The paper argues for the need to personalise methodological approaches to present the standpoint of the researcher and, in turn, deepens their advocacy for addressing the phenomenon. In turn, the paper presents the need to build on existing Indigenous research frameworks to continue advocating for the position of Indigenous research methodologies within the Western institution.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Aboriginal Consultative Group. (1975). Education for Aborigines: Report to the schools commission by the Aboriginal Consultative Group—June 1975. Aboriginal Child at School, 3(5), 3–26. http://search.informit.com.au.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/fullText;dn=016448209044877;res=IELAPA.

  2. Aboriginal Consultative Group. (1975). Education for Aborigines: Report to the schools commission by the Aboriginal Consultative Group—June 1975. Aboriginal Child at School, 3(4), 60–64. http://search.informit.com.au.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=016131448533487;res=IELAPA.

  3. Atkinson, J. (2013). Trauma-informed services and trauma-specific care for Indigenous Australian children. http://www.aihw.gov.au/uploadedFiles/ClosingTheGap/Content/Publications/2013/ctg-rs21.pdf.

  4. Australian Education Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs Senior Officials Committee (AEEYSOC), National Teaching Workforce Dataset, & More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI). (2014). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teacher workforce analysis. Canberra: Australian Government. http://matsiti.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/MATSITI-Data-Analysis-Report-2014.pdf.

  5. Battiste, M. A. (2000). Reclaiming Indigenous voice and vision. Vancouver: UBC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Biber, D. (2006). Stance in spoken and written university registers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 5, 97–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Council of Australian Governments. (2008). National Indigenous Reform Agreement (closing the gap). http://www.federalfinancialrelations.gov.au/content/npa/health_indigenous/indigenous-reform/national-agreement_sept_12.pdf.

  8. Council of Australian Governments. (2012). National education agreement. http://www.federalfinancialrelations.gov.au/content/npa/education/national-agreement.pdf.

  9. Dreise, T., & Thomson, S. (2014). Unfinished business: PISA shows Indigenous youth are being left behind. http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1037&context=indigenous_education.

  10. Education Council. (2015). National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education strategy 2015. http://www.scseec.edu.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/ATSI%20documents/DECD__NATSI_EducationStrategy.pdf.

  11. Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. New York: Longman.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Foley, D. (2003). Indigenous epistemology and Indigenous standpoint theory. Social Alternatives, 22(1), 44–52. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dennis_Foley/publication/256702869_Indigenous_Standpoint_Theory_An_Indigenous_Epistemology/links/02e7e523a517289f60000000.pdf.

  13. Gray, J., & Beresford, Q. (2008). A formidable challenge: Australia’s quest for equity in Indigenous education. Australian Journal of Education, 52(2), 197–223. http://search.proquest.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/docview/205858469/fulltextPDF/2BB2E20D7F364607PQ/1?accountid=13380. doi:10.1177/000494410805200207.

  14. Hasluck, P. (1961). The policy of assimilation: Decisions of Commonwealth and state ministers at the native welfare conference. Canberra: AJ Arthur, Commonwealth Government Printer.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Henry, J., Dunbar, T., Arnott, A., Scrimgeour, M., & Murakami-Gold, L. (2004). Indigenous research reform agenda: A review of the literature. https://www.lowitja.org.au/sites/default/files/docs/IRRA5LinksMonographs.pdf.

  16. Hickling‐Hudson, A., & Ahlquist, R. (2003). Contesting the curriculum in the schooling of Indigenous children in Australia and the United States: From eurocentrism to culturally powerful pedagogies. Comparative Education Review, 47(1), 64–89. http://www.jstor.org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/stable/pdf/10.1086/345837.pdf?_=1461834386872. doi:10.1086/345837.

  17. Hogarth, M. (2015). A critical analysis of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education action plan masters of education (research). Queensland University of Technology. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/89754.

  18. Hogarth, M. (2016). Addressing the rights of Indigenous peoples’ in education: A critical analysis of Indigenous education policy. PhD doctoral thesis (in progress—Unpublished). Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.

  19. Hughes, P., & Willmot, E. (1982). A thousand aboriginal teachers by 1990. In J. Sherwood (Ed.), Aboriginal education. Issues and innovations (pp. 45–49). Perth: Creative Research.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Karmel, P. (1973). Schools in Australia: Report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service; Union Offset Company Pty Ltd. http://apo.org.au/files/Resource/schools_in_australia_karmel_report_1973.pdf.

  21. Lowe, K. (2011). A critique of school and Aboriginal community partnerships. In G. N. Purdie, G. Milgate, & H. R. Bell (Eds.), Two way teacher and learning (pp. 13–32). Camberwell: ACER.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Luke, A. (2002). Beyond science and ideology critique: Developments in critical discourse analysis. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 22, 96–110. http://journals.cambridge.org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=135894&jid=APL&volumeId=22&issueId=-1&aid=135893&bodyId=&membershipNumber=&societyETOCSession. doi:10.1017/S0267190502000053.

  23. Ministerial Council for Education Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA). (2011). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education action plan (2010–2014). http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/A10-0945_IEAP_web_version_final2.pdf.

  24. Ministerial Council on Education Employment Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2006). Australian directions in Indigenous education 2005–2008. http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/Australian_Directions_in_Indigenous_Education_2005-2008.pdf.

  25. Moreton-Robinson, A. (2013). Towards an Australian Indigenous women’s standpoint theory: A methodological tool. Australian Feminist Studies, 28(78), 331–347. http://www-tandfonline-com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/08164649.2013.876664. doi:10.1080/08164649.2013.876664.

  26. Nakata, M. (2007a). The cultural interface. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 36, 7–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Nakata, M. (2007b). Disciplining the savages: Savaging the disciplines. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Partington, G. (1998). Perspectives on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education. Tuggerah: Social Science Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Rigney, L. (1999). Internationalization of an Indigenous anticolonial cultural critique of research methodologies: A guide to Indigenist research methodology and its principles. Wicazo sa Review, 14, 109–121.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Rigney, L. (2006). Indigenist research and aboriginal Australia. In J. Kunnie & N. I. Goduka (Eds.), Indigenous peoples’ wisdom and power: Affirming our knowledge through narratives (pp. 32–48). Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Schools Commission. (1975). Schools commission report for the triennium 1976–1978: Chapter 9—Education for Aborigines. Aboriginal Child at School, 3(3), 42–54. http://search.informit.com.au.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/fullText;dn=011268243035097;res=IELIND.

  32. Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples. Dunedin: University of Otago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Van Dijk, T. A. (1993). Principles of critical discourse analysis. Discourse & Society, 4(2), 249–283. http://das.sagepub.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/content/4/2/249.full.pdf+html.

  34. Welch, A. R. (1988). Aboriginal education as internal colonialism: The schooling of an Indigenous minority in Australia. Comparative Education, 24(2), 203–215. http://www.jstor.org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/stable/3099076.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Melitta Hogarth.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hogarth, M. Speaking back to the deficit discourses: a theoretical and methodological approach. Aust. Educ. Res. 44, 21–34 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-017-0228-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education
  • Indigenous education policy
  • Deficit discourses