Symposium 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Transforming Indigenous Boys’ Lives (#413)

Anthony Dillon 1
  1. Australian Catholic University, North Sydney, NSW, Australia

Indigenous students often live in locations where attaining a good secondary education is difficult. To overcome this, public and private schools have developed boarding programs in an attempt to provide these students with a quality education. While these programs are well intentioned, anecdotal evidence suggests that there have been both success and failures with this approach. There is a need to evaluate these programs using rigorous research methodologies that allow causal inferences to be drawn. One school that shows promise is the boarding program for Indigenous boys at The Scots College. Using a mixed-methods approach that capitalises on positive psychology theory and interviews with a range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders (students, parents, and school staff), this research aims to 1) measure the program’s impact on transforming the lives of young Indigenous boys and their communities, and 2) identify the program’s drivers of success. Factors identified through qualitative analysis that enable The Scots College to provide Indigenous boys with a world-class education will be discussed in this presentation and include: visionary and passionate leadership, high expectations of the boys, careful selection of boys from families that value education, strong academic support, school community support, and a valuing of Indigenous culture.