Racial discrimination and multiculturation are associated with Indigenous Australian youth educational achievement. There is a negative impact on Indigenous students’ academic achievement when peer and teacher discrimination is experienced (Bodkin-Andrews et al., 2013; Bodkin-Andrews et al., 2010; Kao & Thompson, 2003; Ford, 2013). Social and educational learning activities and celebrations that show respect for Indigenous history and knowledge are positive steps that increase multiculturation. Social change towards decreased discrimination and increased respect of Indigenous Australians is still in progress and will be positively enhanced when schools are free of discrimination.
Ideally, schools and teachers should be promoting the increase of multiculturation and reducing discrimination experiences. Schools with a high multiculturation environment need to be particularly aware of teachers that are discriminatory towards students and implement strategies to remove this discrimination; students should always come first. Inclusive education as a school-wide supported pedagogical initiative is an ideal approach which should help decrease the occurrence of discrimination (Bodkin-Andrews et al., 2013). Suggested inclusive educational techniques and pedagogical strategies include linking Indigenous cultural background and knowledge to classroom learning (McConney, Oliver, Woods-McConney, & Schibeci, 2011) within authentic activities and valuing student knowledge through situated practice (The New London Group, 1996).
Low-SES and Indigenous status in Australia largely represent social disadvantage which impacts negatively on educational attainment. Teachers should be aware of the current research on these factors and work towards increasing academic achievement through high expectations in teaching and learning. Schools should also be paralleling society’s needs by removing discrimination from the education system thereby improving the outcomes for all students.
Bodkin-Andrews, G. H., Denson, N., & Bansel, P. (2013). Teacher racism, academic self-concept, and multiculturation: investigating adaptive and maladaptive relations with academic disengagement and self-sabotage for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students. Australian Psychologist, 48, 226-237.
Bodkin-Andrews, G., O’Rourke, V., Grant, R., Denson, N., & Craven, R. G. (2010). Validating racism and cultural respect: testing the psychometric properties and educational impact of perceived discrimination and multiculturation for Indigenou and non-Indigenous students. Educational Research and Evaluation, 16(6), 471-493.
Ford, M. (2013). Achievement gaps in Australia: what NAPLAN reveals about education
Kao, G., & Thompson, J. S. (2003). Racial and ethnic stratification in educational achievement and attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 417-442.
McConney, A., Oliver, M., Woods-McConney, A., & Schibeci, R. (2011). Bridging the gap? A comparative, retrospective analysis of science literacy and interest in science for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students. International Journal of Science Education, 33(14), 2017-2035.
The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92