Community-Centred Approaches to Education

Terry Ngamandarra Wilson, Gulach (detail), painting on bark, private collection © Terry Ngamandarra, licensed by Viscopy, 2016


In the third seminar of the series ‘On and Off Country’, Claire Rafferty PhD scholar at CAEPR, will discuss the key findings of her doctoral research conducted in educational contexts in Northeast Arnhem Land. These findings demonstrate that on the ground both ways education is the preferred model of learning, however, how this is understood and operationalised varies. Furthermore, the theoretical underpinnings of local models of learning are not validated by the education system or in community-based teacher education courses. In this seminar Claire will bring together five elements that she proposes require urgent attention in the context of both ways education. These include: governance and community control, centralised directives and policy, curriculum and pedagogy, both ways community centred teacher education, and collaborative practice. In this seminar Claire will discuss the interdependence of these and how they are all critical considerations in both ways education. 


Claire Rafferty is about to submit her PhD thesis: ‘Relationships matter: Yolŋu models of both ways community-centred education'. She has worked as an educator in remote Northern Territory communities for many years and is passionate about intergenerational community-based learning. Whilst working in the NT she has collaborated with teachers, rangers and community members to develop contextual bicultural programs for both adult and student learners that are grounded in place and relationships. Claire is interested in how collaboration in intercultural spaces can be enriched when we value multiple perspectives, recognise power imbalances, create space for honest dialogue and cultivate humility. She is committed to a strengths-based approach that recognises local ways of being, knowing and doing and believes this is integral to the lifelong learning process.

Date & time

Wed 22 Sep 2021, 12–1.30pm



Claire Rafferty, HDR Scholar, CAEPR


Tracy Deasey
02 61252053


Updated:  6 September 2021/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications