Keeping Indigenous teachers in the profession: Indigenous teachers' voices on why they stay in the profession


I am a Quandamooka man from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). My positioning as an Aboriginal man who has worked in Indigenous education over twenty years has contributed to conceptualising this study and contributing another Aboriginal voice to the literature in Indigenous education.  

The study aims to provide an Indigenous voice to the education research landscape through an Indigenist standpoint research lens (Rigney, 1999). It will also provide a literature analysis on Indigenous teachers who have remained in the profession and identify any gaps in the literature. In this study I explore the stories of the lived experiences of Indigenous teachers who have remained in the profession for over six years using a community-based storying approach. Storying is a research approach, a research tool and a methodology which provides opportunity to hear the silenced and marginalised voices of Indigenous teachers and explore their experiences, challenges and successes (Kovach, 2010; Phillips & Bunda, 2018). What has been found from the analysis so far is that there has been some progress made to increase the number of Indigenous teachers employed throughout Australian schools. The recent More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI) had the aim of increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people entering and remaining in professional teaching positions in Australian schools (MATSITI, 2017). In spite of this progress, there remains a perception in Australia that teacher attrition is an issue (AITSL, 2016). It is an appropriate time to analyse the literature about those Indigenous teachers who have remained in the profession and why they have chosen to remain.

My research will provide evidence on the positive impacts that experienced Indigenous teachers have in the education profession. This will be achieved by storying with experienced Indigenous teachers. It will highlight the importance of Indigenous voices in Indigenous research and contribute to the teacher education literature in Australia.


Dr Marnee Shay (Principal) and Professor Peter Renshaw

Confirmation Panel

Associate Professor Liz Mackinlay (Chair) and Professor Tracey Bunda

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