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Port Lincoln Focus - The Ripple Effect
Refer Appendix 4 in Documents
Emma Richards, Indigenous Project Officer, The University of Adelaide
- Ms Richards became interested in research after undertaking an “Introduction to Research Methods” course and assisting with data collection for the Linkin Health Census in 2010.
- Ms Richards became a Team leader, encouraging Aboriginal people to be involved. Through respectful methods of data collection, the Aboriginal Community was proud to be involved. They received feedback and had a sense of ownership. This highlighted the benefits of research.
- The Ripple Effect arose out of the data from the Linkin study that showed Aboriginal youth were struggling with the physical and emotional changes and peer pressure leading to unhappiness and difficulty focussing on education and positive relationships.
- The focus of the study was a snap shot look at the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal youth and the ways this affected their schooling and transition to employment.
- Benefits of the study included baseline sample data of Indigenous youth issues and how it can affect their education and information for parents, service providers and the community that can be used to develop or design further programs and projects.
- Ms Richards created a painting (Wilya Moolga – The cry of the soul) to symbolise the Ripple Effect - The eye is youth or parents crying at a time of distress. The cry creates a ripple effect. The first circle is family, the 2nd circle of spirits represents youth on a journey with options and choices. The blue arcs and ripples are options and choices – good choices turn the issue around positively, if not they go around in a negative circle.
Questions and Discussion
- Aboriginal culture provides different ways to support youth eg decisions by a mother are backed up by a grandmother.
- Traditionally, Aboriginal children have not been involved in Port Lincoln’s fishing industry. This is changing by acknowledging different learning styles and providing options eg: Flexible Learning Program (FLOW) keeps youth connected to high school, supports Aboriginal and non Aboriginal children.
- Aboriginal and non Aboriginal youth have completed one month’s training at the Australian Fishing Academy and are finding employment in the industry. The successful completion of this certificate has come about tough acknowledgement of different learning styles and has given the participants increased confidence.
- Boredom was identified as a key issue in the study. Youth often require assistance to identify their interests. Parents and the community need to provide positive reinforcement and remind youth they have potential.
- It is important to be role models for our children, and show them what it is to live and work, and secure their future.
- Ms Richards has been able to help change the negative image of research within Aboriginal communities through inclusion, consultation and engagement.
Action: Add information on the “Basic Research Methodology” course offered through the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia to the FRAME website.
The Ripple Effects Workshop
Participants used a “Yarn card” to stimulate discussion on the 10 key factors that arose from the Ripple Effects study and consider opportunities for research in their universities.
- Drug & Substance Abuse.
- Lack of Support.
- Income, Finances and Funding.
- Employment and Training.
- Access and Equity.
- Depression, Grief and Loss.
- Emotional Management.
- Peer pressure.
- Need for outcomes based curriculum.
- 10 key factors are intertwined – in some communities one issue may be more prevalent than another.
- Youth identified that support from teachers could assist with keeping them engaged in education.
- Teachers need to encourage to students to catch up after missed days or they lose confidence and are ashamed to go back into the classroom.
- Boredom refers to needing a sense of purpose or meaning - Focus on education / Learning styles.
- Lack of support - Interventions are often short lived, then finish, need to make support sustainable.
- It is difficult to provide positive role modelling when there is so much exposure to the internet and external influences.
- Ms Richards encouraged FRAME members to think about projects in their own areas, engage with and employ Aboriginal people, develop employment opportunities and ability.
- Peer pressure – are Aboriginal youth influenced by their culture, is there a difference between Aboriginal and non-indigenous youth in terms of peer pressure?
- Retrospective look at successful projects and what happens when funding finishes.
- How can cultural issues and learning differences be identified in any learning environment and addressed in each environment for each student?