"And they wonder why"
: a comparative study of indigenous parent participation in Darwin school committee meetings

  • Terry-Lynn Ngarritjan Kessaris

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    This study makes a comparative examination of two parent based school meetings, one, an all White-Australian school council meeting, and the other an all Indigenous ASSPA* meeting. The study is ethnographic and employs video analysis as the main method of data collection and study design. It is located in Darwin in a secondaiy school educational context, and has a primarily sociolinguistic focus.

    It sets out to explore issues relating to the role of meetings in educational decision making and raises questions about how appropriate committee type meetings are as mechanisms for change whereby Indigenous parents can influence educational outcomes for their children. It attempts to demonstrate what happens when Indigenous people are expected to work as 'meetings'. It tries also to show what works and what fails, and what happens when Indigenous people are squeezed into a bureaucratic mould.

    It concludes by questioning the legitimacy of western meetings in the Indigenous community as the main way of advancing Indigenous aspirations and resolving Indigenous problems, and warns against the silent disempowerment that unquestioned participation in White governmental structures, in this case school meetings, may bring about.

    *ASSPA - Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Participation
    Date of AwardMar 1997
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMerridy Malin (Supervisor)

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