This report presents an evaluation of the Aboriginal Girls’ Circle, an intervention targeted to increase social connection, participation and self-confidence amongst Aboriginal girls attending secondary schools.
The Aboriginal Girls’ Circle (AGC) is an intervention targeted to increase social connection, participation and self- confidence amongst Aboriginal girls attending secondary schools. Researchers from the University of Western Sydney (UWS)’s School of Education sought to evaluate the AGC pilot undertaken at Dubbo College and to provide recommendations for the program’s further development. The following specific aims were outlined for this pilot research.
1. To determine the effects of the AGC for participants’ resilience, connectedness, self-concept and cultural identity,
2. To investigate and track the development of culturally appropriate tools and methods for measuring these constructs, and
3. To evaluate the relative effectiveness of various components of the program and implementation processes.
Ethical protocols for working with Aboriginal communities were an important aspect of the research design, which was approved by the UWS Human Research Ethics Committee and by the by the NSW Department of Education and Communities. The research was undertaken in two stages, beginning with a consultation process that sought the views of community Elders, the AGC program developers and key school-based personnel.
The first stage of the research involved field observations of the AGC in action, together with a series of interviews and focus groups involving participants, group leaders, community Elders and school staff. The second stage used quantitative methods to measure the effects of the program on key variables relating to student connectedness, resilience, cultural identity and self-concept.