What Attributes Make an Alternate Model of Education for Remote Indigenous Adolescents: A Systematic Literature Review





Education provides opportunities for adolescents to make developmental gains. Remote Indigenous adolescents not engaged in education programs need alternate learning opportunities to reach developmental goals. This review identifies attributes that contribute to an alternate model of education within the existing literature and reports on the quantity and nature of evidence. Thirty-seven databases and grey literature were canvassed using strict search criteria. Analysis of papers was conducted to find the enablers of alternate models by identifying the conditions, strategies and outcomes the intervention produced. Papers were categorised according to their nature by Canada's Hierarchy of Evidence and the Sanson-Fisher model. There was limited literature on alternate models of education for Indigenous adolescents in settings outside a school environment. Three papers were classified as descriptive and ten as intervention research. All papers were described as 'emerging' and 'promising' practices. The five attributes embedded within a model included 1) cultural connectedness and awareness; 2) being contextually designed; 3) fosters relationships with peers and adults; 4) specific teaching and learning strategies and; 5) holistic outcomes. The findings will contribute to the co-design of an alternate model of education for remote Indigenous communities. Gaps identified in the literature included examples of 'best practice' models and highlighted the need for further research of innovative models that move from descriptive research to form an evidence base.

Author Biographies

Amelia Britton, Central Queensland University

Amelia is a PhD student at CQUniversity. She has worked as a teacher and Guidance Officer with over 15 years experience working on Cape York and in Far North Queensland. She is passionate about seeing young people with experiences and opportunities to support their growth into adulthood. She has most recently worked on a five-year Resilience study examining psychosocial resilience and wellbeing of Indigenous students attending boarding schools. Her PhD research focuses on designing an alternate model of education with two remote Aboriginal communities to provide learning opportunities for adolescents who don’t meet the requirements of mainstream learning pathways.

Michelle Redman-Maclaren, James Cook University

Michelle is a public health researcher known for her ability to facilitate action-oriented research in a culturally respectful way for positive health outcomes. She achieves this by facilitating participatory, decolonising public health research with Pacific Islander and Indigenous Australian peoples that is sensitive to culture, spirituality and gender. Michelle has worked in the Pacific (Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea) and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities for over 20 years. Michelle has taught community development, social policy and research subjects, and facilitated public health research with universities in Australia, PNG and Solomon Islands for over 10 years.

Miriam Ham, Central Queensland University

Miriam is a lecturer of Education on the Cairns campus of CQUniversity. Her passion is working with teachers to solve identified problems specific to their context. Her PhD investigated Nepali teachers’ beliefs about education and their classroom practice, particularly in response to implementing national educational reform. She holds a Masters of Education and Masters of International and Community Development which she completed during her 16 years of teaching in Queensland secondary schools.

Roxanne Bainbridge, Central Queensland University

Roxanne is director of the Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research at Central Queensland University. Her interest is in improving the integrity and quality of research evidence as a contribution to the health and prosperity of Indigenous Australians. She holds a 4-year Fellowship from Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council and is a member of Lowitja Institute’s national committee on Community Capability and the Social Determinants of Health. Roxanne is a Gungarri woman from Queensland, Australia.



11-11-2020 — Updated on 24-07-2022


How to Cite

Britton, A., Redman-Maclaren, M., Ham, M., & Bainbridge, R. (2022). What Attributes Make an Alternate Model of Education for Remote Indigenous Adolescents: A Systematic Literature Review. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 30(3), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.47381/aijre.v30i3.279 (Original work published November 11, 2020)