Practice based best evidence: What evidence base counts when evaluating good practice in program delivery?

Content type
Event date

28 April 2015, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm (AEST)


John Guenther, Mal Galbraith, Phillip Dhamarrandji, Bonnie Moss


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About this webinar

This webinar was held on 28 April 2015.

A lot of attention has been given at policy and program implementation levels to service provision that uses "evidence-based best practice". There are problems with this.

Firstly, there can only be one "best" practice, so what room is there for other "good practices"? Secondly, who determines which evidence base counts? Thirdly, if practice is to be built on an evidence base, what room does that leave for experimentation or new evidence?

In this webinar, John Guenther, Mal Galbraith, Phillip Dhamarrandji and Bonnie Moss explored the evaluation and program development journey for the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program in the Northern Territory, which has spanned over 10 years. First developed in the US in the 1990s, the family strengthening model used by the FAST program has a strong evidence base. It changes the way families keep kids safe and involved in learning and life.

For the program manager, an evidence base is important for several reasons: demonstrating "good practice" to funders; ensuring and improving program quality; and supporting program sustainability. But what is measured as evidence of good practice may not reflect the participants' perceptions of good practice. How do program participants perceive good practice—particularly those from remote communities?

The presenters talked about the learnings gained from program delivery, evaluation and monitoring, and the implications that follow for funders, academics, program staff and communities.

Audio transcript (edited)

Webinar facilitated & speaker introduced by Stuart Muir


Okay, good morning everyone and welcome to this Knowledge Circle webinar, "Practice-based best evidence:  What evidence base counts when evaluating good practice in program delivery?"  My name is Stewart Muir and I'm the manager of Knowledge Circle here at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.  Today we will hear some insights from four speakers based in the Northern Territory about what counts as good practice and good evidence in service provision and program delivery.  The presentation will draw on our speakers' experience of programs for Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, especially their Families and Schools Together program and program evaluation.

Before I introduce our speakers, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we are meeting and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and to the Elders from other communities who may be participating today.  So it's now my great pleasure to very briefly introduce today's four presenters, Mal Galbraith, Phillip Dhamarrandji, Bonnie Moss and John Guenther.  Further biographical details of each of our speakers can be found on our website but I'll just briefly introduce them.

Mal is the manager for the Families and Schools Together Northern Territory program or the FAST NT program.  Phillip is, amongst other things, a program trainer for FAST NT based in North East Arnhem Land and he provides a cultural and learning bridge for non-Indigenous FAST staff and I gather Phillip flew in to Darwin a couple of days ago especially for this webinar so we're very grateful to have him here today.  Bonnie is a Research Manager for the Centre for Child Development and Education at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin where she undertakes research on early childhood wellbeing programs.  And John is Principal Research Leader, Remote Education, at Flinders University and the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation.

So our structure today, we'll start with John who's going to very briefly introduce the webinar before handing over to Mal and Phillip who'll discuss the experiences of the FAST program in the Northern Territory.  Bonnie will then discuss what gets measured in program evaluations and John will provide some concluding remarks about what good practice means for program evaluations.  Just before I hand over to our speakers, I need to alert you to some very brief housekeeping details.

One of the core functions of Knowledge Circle is to share knowledge so I would like to remind everyone they can submit questions via the chat box at any time during the webinar.  There will be a limited amount of time for questions at the end of the presentation but we will try to respond to as many as possible.  We also want you to continue the conversation we begin here today so, to facilitate this, we will set up a forum on the Knowledge Circle website where you can discuss the ideas and issues raised today and share your own experiences.  We will send a link to this forum later today.

Please remember that this webinar is being recorded and the audio transcript and presentation slides will be made available on the Knowledge Circle and CFCA websites in due course.  So without further ado, please join me in giving our speakers a very warm virtual welcome.


Thank you very much Stewart and our particular thanks to the Australian Institute of Family Studies for facilitating this session today and a special note of thanks to Adam for his work with us.  I'd also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the country that we are meeting on here in Darwin, the Larrakia people, and acknowledge their Elders, past and present.  The way that we'll structure this program, as Stewart has suggested, is that I'll just provide some introductory comments and then we'll hear from Phillip and Mal and Bonnie will talk a little bit about evaluation and then I'll wrap up.  But I'll just get each person to say hello and introduce themselves so that you recognise their voice.  Firstly on my right I've got Mal.


Hello everybody.


And across the table we've got Phillip.


Hello, Phillip Dhamarrandji (foreign words spoken). So that's my first language (foreign words spoken).


Hi and it's Bonnie Moss here too.


And obviously I'm John.  I'd like to just pose a question.  Is good practice the key to sustainable service delivery?  And I'm sure that many of you who are attending today are service providers and perhaps have asked this question yourself.  There's lots of talk among program deliverers and evaluators about the importance of evidence-based practice and part of the reason for that talk is that it's sometimes seen to be an important underpinning of sustainable service delivery to have an evidence base on which you work with.

And some would say that any program that is delivered must be based on an evidence base.  And I've noticed in my experience as an evaluator over more than ten years, particularly in the Northern Territory, that this mandate or this requirement for an evidence base has built up an industry for people like Bonnie and myself to actually collect and create the evidence as evaluation evidence, which is great for people like us. But the question I suppose I have is, does it really make a difference and what difference does that evaluation make?  And when the evidence proves that a program works, what happens when new policies or new directions come from funders and the kind of evidence that they require changes?  Are we left to hang out to dry?

And I guess these are some of the fundamental questions that I would be asking, and I do ask as an evaluator, as we approach this particular topic.  How do we get our heads around the notion of sustainable service delivery and evidence-based practice?  I'll now hand over to Mal and to Phillip to talk a little bit about the FAST program.


Okay, hello.  I'm just going to make a bit of an assumption here that not everybody who's listening today understands what FAST is so I'll just give a little bit of an explanation before we get Phillip to share some of his learnings and some of his understandings as well.  Yeah, it's great, I've got a whole lot of my staff who actually help us deliver the program sitting here listening and the staff in Alice Springs as well and the staff out in East Arnhem and I guess that gives a bit of a context of where we work.

FAST essentially is an early intervention family strengthening program.  It has a broad goal of increasing the likelihood of a child growing up in a family to be successful either in the home or the school or the community.  FAST has an underpinning, I guess, value that we believe that all parents love their children and want the best for them.  However we know that that's not - people don't always have the right circumstances or challenges in life [which] prevent them from providing the right resources or the right inputs to be able to help our children to grow up well and successfully.

So FAST being an evidence-based program, everything that's in the program comes from research so all of the activities that we run are all designed activities to bring outcomes and to bring strengths to the family unit.  A primary part of that process is the collaborative team that runs the FAST program in any setting.  That collaborative team, when we're talking about our - I'll talk about our primary school age program called Kids FAST.  That collaborative team in a setting looks like a - it has school partners, people involved from the school, teachers, teachers' assistants, sometimes assistant principals and principals get involved, parent partners, parent partners who love being part of schools maybe on the school council, the sort of parents who often turn up to swimming carnivals and the like who want to help out in the program.

And then the third layer of team members is the agency partners.  A lot of schools receive a lot of outside support from local agencies these days to implement specialised programs to support kids, so FAST brings in those agency workers into the program to build relationships, develop relationships with the families.  That team is then trained by our FAST staff in all of the understanding of what FAST is, the implementation of the program and then also that team also helps to conduct the monitoring and evaluation to help work out whether FAST has made a difference for the families.

That team then invites families.  Typically 10 to 12 families come into the program for eight weeks.  For two and a half hours, the whole family coming in and sharing a meal together, sharing activities, activities primarily led by the parent being empowered to be the leader in their family, and then the parents would sit and have a self-help group facilitated by some of the staff looking at questions about, what is parenting?  So, what are the things that we find difficult?  How can we do things better?  Not necessarily experts coming in and telling people but just supportive self-help programs.

We've had the privilege of delivering FAST since 2003 in the Territory and as you can see, the red dots indicate where FAST is active.  At the moment we've got FAST active in Alice Springs with Baby FAST and Kids FAST program.  Out in East Arnhem, we've got about five programs happening this week - Phillip will talk a little bit more about that - and here in Darwin programs as well.  So as you can see, our geographical distribution is quite broad.  It's 1500 km from Darwin to Alice so it's quite a long way to support the program.  The last couple of years we've been delivering across about 20 sites in both urban and remote communities where we've been training teams and training up local people to look after families in their local community. 

One of the sort of - I guess part of our work has been, how do we take an evidence-based program, in our case from North America which has been researched, and fit it into the Australian context and then also fit it into a remote community context?  One of the key things that helps that to happen is that the team that is trained to look after families and their community has to be culturally representative.  So therefore out in East Arnhem, where we're primarily talking about today, most of the team members are going to be Yolngu team members who live - like who live in the community and know families often related to those people within that community.  Likewise when we're working in urban communities, we want that team to be culturally representative of the cohort of families coming to the program.

This is one of the reasons that FAST is actually taken up on an engagement level by local people.  We've had to work out how do we fit with and adapt activities to suit the local people.  For instance in the very - that photo there, you can see FAST was originally given to us where families would come in and sit around school tables and the whole family would sit around a table.  That doesn't really fit in an East Arnhem context so therefore each family would come in and sit around on the blue tarpaulin that we provide, identifying with sort of each of those families to look after their family unit, which you can see loosely in that photo.

Our work has just helped us to primarily develop the relationship with our FAST staff in remote communities who know their communities, who understand their cultural learnings and understandings.  And our job has been to walk alongside, to work with our local staff to bring the best of our western evidence-based research underpinnings and then combine that with the way Yolngu in particular understand what it means to parent and the responsibilities.  So that's where a lot of our work is.  Phillip will talk more about that in a minute.

Interestingly enough, the quote across the bottom of the page there was written about - or it came to us about - I think about eight years ago from a community in a homeland right up the top of Elcho Island, which is a little island off the coast of North East Arnhem Land, a little community called Gawa.  And one of the Elders who participated in the program gave us this quote.  It's her observation of what she saw FAST was doing working alongside her families: "It's like the FAST program was written for us to go back to the way how we used to work together and walk alongside our children."  That's part of our ongoing evidence base to help us to keep working how we can adapt two-way learning and the understanding of our knowledge walking alongside Yolngu to be able to strengthen families.

Primarily, FAST works on three levels - and this works if you think about your own family setting, no matter where you grow up in Australia, your own family setting - primarily, the parent is responsible for the children.  FAST wants to strengthen that primary relationship to empower the parents to be in charge.  The next level out, your family will have other families in your community.  You might be related to them or they might be just families in that community where you have strong relationships and you need those strong relationships to support each family growing up.

And then on a broader level we have the families and the schools.  Captain Obvious here, it's quite obvious as a parent you don't bring your child up by yourself.  You need all of these support mechanisms and support layers in life.  So FAST works on that basic sort of underpinning that works in a Western setting, in a south-eastern Australian urban community, but equally works as well in remote NT communities.

Okay, I'm just going to - I'd like to introduce Phillip and get Phillip to share a little bit about where he comes from.  So, Phillip, just tell us - tell us about your role in the community and just tell us a little bit about yourself.


(Foreign words spoken).  My role in community, I'm a leadership for Djambarrpuyngu clan and responsibility in our community.  (Indistinct) who is the eldest in the community, every clans, tribes, they respect and (indistinct) to take and talk to all the community with family relationships.  So I'm just explaining my name is Phillip Dhamarrandji, I'm from (indistinct), I grew up in Galiwinku.  First of all I was the FAST - I was a FAST family and I came in to be a coordinator and coordinator, it's helped me the way I was seeing the FAST, how it's been great for our family and for myself and for my family and for my family in every East Arnhem - for East Arnhem.

So Mal was talking about the way (foreign words spoken).  That means (foreign words spoken) means in my language. So I have to interpret it to - in English, my second language.  Remember the past and change the future.  And I have to - if you can see all the East Arnhem, my role is FAST trainer and I encourage and support all the communities in homeland - homelands yeah, homelands and in communities too and every clans.

So I have to share about the symbol of how Yolngu people we learn, symbol, metaphor.  (Foreign words spoken) if you can see under the canoe.  (Foreign words spoken) is teamwork, working together.  The place where we can go and paddle out as a team together, paddle and catch the turtle and get the turtle.  Every part of that canoe got a responsible role, role model.  The first one is he can direct the area where we can go and where we can see.  It's the same for our children so children can learn and follow the instruction, the way of getting turtle meat and come back to mainland.

And there's always escape for us, area to come together, sit together, make a bonfire and cut all the meat for turtle meat and we have to share the way that FAST is giving a meal.  Same thing.  Strengthening up relations and it's strengthening up our community to be strong for our children and at the same time passing our knowledge.  And I have to talk about one more thing here.

It's a metaphor of a basket.  Basket, it's a community.  Community.  And it's there a raypirri.  There is always a raypirri for us in our community.  Raypirri means discipline.  You can spell - put down on your paper it's raypirri, it's r-a-y-p-r-r-i, raypirri.  It's a discipline.  Discipline, it helps us and our family in giving responsibility to pass on knowledge and all (indistinct) person will give everything to parents and children what we need in our community and building relationships so we have a good relationship.

Pass - I remember to pass FAST from the past.  It reminds me and it's taking me what I have been learned from my father and I learned from my old people.  Remember the past and change the future.  Always follow alongside, children will follow alongside with their parents.  Alongside with their parents.


Phillip, do you want to share just a little bit about how the story of the basket helps you to talk to families about how FAST can strengthen families?


See that basket there, it's a dillybag.  Dillybag and it represents our community.  Every community in East Arnhem, every community I go and visit and teach and train them, in every community, I speak to them and talk to them, talk about basket it's a community.  See there's a hole.  Before, it was strong, community was strong, really strong.  I explain to every person in the community, the team and the family and old people and before we have a strong community and if you can see all the black mark there, there's a hole.  It's something that's bringing into our community and it's breaking our law, our future for our children.  It's family violence.

In our community, we have to fix ourselves.  In our community, we have to mend.  I always say that in our community, "Yolngu people, we have to fix this program.  We have to mend all the holes here if we got heart.  So we can talk from our heart.  We have to fix this problem.  No one else to come here and fix the problem.  We have to stand and fight for our community, make our community strong and relationships".

I forgot one, gurrutumirr.  Gurrutumirr means - write down g-u-r-r-u-t-u-m-i-r-r.  It's the relationship.  Yolngu got relationship.  Not only Yolngu, but Australian got relationship too.  Relationship, if we can build or draw a family tree, Northern Territory family tree or Australian family tree, it will be linked every - and networking and communicating, talking together and working together.

Yolngu people really needs support.  I encourage please, I'm begging you guys from my heart, that Yolngu have to rise up in our community.  Working together, walk together beside and building the bridge by (indistinct) Law and Yolngu Law.  Balanda Law and Yolngu Law.  That's bringing and building together to support each other.  That way we are building our community strong and our relationships.

From my heart, it will be good doing relationship and restoring for our reconciliation Australia for both Yolngu and Balanda.  That means - and work together in our community.  In our Yolngu community, we have to fix the problem.  We have to fix the problem and mend the community.  Because I got support from my people, got my support from my FAST base in Darwin, from John, Bonnie, it's strengthening up our relationship because we are gurrutumirr.  Balanda and Yolngu is (indistinct) and our brothers and sisters.  From my heart, thank you.  I have to pass onto Bonnie.


Thank you, thanks Phillip.  This is a family strengthening program and I think in Australia we all benefit when we prevent problems and plan for the future, and that's what Phillip is talking about and that's what I'm talking about.  And the reality is that in Australia some children, they do not enjoy the benefits of the rest of the nation.  And in the Northern Territory we need more programs that strengthen families and this is an example that I've been lucky to be observing for more than a decade, and I'm just going to talk about some of the evaluation phases of - I'm fumbling, of FAST.

So and that is that FAST is a manualised program that has come from America.  It comes with a manual that was trying to be implemented and FAST here in the Northern Territory has bought in strongly into evaluation.  Not all non-government organisations can buy into evaluation with this gusto, but FAST has.  John has been in an evaluation relationship with FAST - for how many years, John?


Eight years.


Eight years.  It wasn't the first evaluation they had.  They did work strongly with the international evaluation unit of FAST in the beginning and they've worked strongly with other partnerships to look at and interrogate what are the elements of the program.  Some of the first evaluations for FAST focused on the model.  What are they doing?  The elements, the ingredients of the model from America that came in the manual: can you actually do those in a weekly program, for example, in East Arnhem Land?  And Mal and Phillip and John all agree that the evaluations have shown that you can, that they do keep to many of the real ingredients from the manual from North America and that's an international program that's used in other countries.  Not just North America and here in Northern Territory but in Ireland for example, Great Britain.

I think some of the things about the FAST evaluations is that they give a real insight into how things can be evaluated, how they can be implemented on the ground.  And for me as an evaluator in the environment, I have to mention today that one of the ways that FAST really works is they have a whole of community engagement.  They really are a big program.  It's not one or two people working each week, it's often whole of community, it's that holistic approach to involving many people in the implementation of a program and I've noticed in some of the evaluation documents that that has really an unrecognised often outcome of strengthening community when the program is focused on strengthening families.

FAST has worked incredibly strongly at translating some of the things about family dynamics that are in the program into metaphors that Yolngu families really relate to and the program can translate and really engage people with.  For me another strength that's been documented in evaluations and talked about today is the cultural interpreters' role of the FAST team members, that this is a program in many places that's run in first language, it's conducted in first language.  So those core concepts about the program have been translated many times back and forwards so that they're really refined and there's a great fit for the people who participate and for me as a non-Indigenous person, there has to be a lot less chances of making cultural errors or boo-boos or assumptions about what you are doing with people.

There's been a lot of development of evaluation tools, specific tools, that will let people who have participated in the program or been partners in the program assess how the program is going and those tools are part of the investment.  I notice also from work that I've done before that Invest to Grow and Stronger Communities for Children, those type of investments from the Australian government have also been in the Northern Territory environment for more than - were here for more than a decade.  And when FAST was working in East Arnhem, they were working in a partnership with Communities for Children and working with John eventually, as an evaluator, to develop what's called a Promising Practice Profile.

To me I think that's an opportunity that happened in the past that is being reinvigorated currently in an opportunity to actually write down what are you doing and how you're doing it and they're those Promising Practice Profiles or those Knowledge Circle profiles that really distil and take a lot of work to - for an organisation to document their practice and their evidence, and I know that the FAST profile is up on the AIFS website.  And in hindsight, when those first Promising Practice Profiles were done a number of years ago, I think that that was a great opportunity to hone thinking about what is evidence for a program that works for example in East Arnhem Land.

But I have to close by saying that for programs, that buying in the technical support to do quality evaluations to really focus on the elements that lead to strong outcomes, effective outcomes, that that technical support is costly, it takes specific strategies and that is an important part of the dialogue about what has to be in place for better outcomes for programs like FAST.


Thanks Bonnie.  And I'll just wrap up with a few concluding comments and I just want to ask a question about how evaluators and even program mangers measure good practice.  And it's been my experience that one of the problems for evaluators when you're working as an outsider in another cultural context, and I can only speak of the Northern Territory particularly here because that's been my experience, is the tension between satisfying the needs of a funder who gives you a contract to deliver a set of activities with some attendant outcomes and meeting the needs of the program and the community.

And the tension lies where we talk about gathering evidence. But what does that evidence actually measure or what does it count for?  You know, are we measuring bums on seats or are we measuring the kind of outcomes that Phillip was talking about?  It's very difficult to measure the direction of the canoe that Phillip was talking about.  It's very difficult to measure the number of holes that have been filled in a basket, in a metaphorical basket.  But, in actual fact, it's getting to that level of understanding what the community wants that then defines what good practice is, not what's written in the contract necessarily.

And along the relationship that I've had with FAST over the years, what we've tried to do is adapt our logic model or our theory of change to suit the changing context in which we're working so that we do capture some of those 
community-based outcomes.  But inevitably what happens is that as we identify those different outcomes, they're not the same as what's required by the contract that the funder has given the service provider.  So do we then say that the program was a failure when we get a different set of outcomes that don't match the criteria that was specified in the contract or in the original theory of change or logic model?

I suggest not.  I suggest that the kind of evidence that we have got that measures the good practice about the direction that the canoe is travelling and the holes that are being filled in the basket are equally valid and need to be promoted as such.  So we're not talking about suggesting - we're not suggesting that an evidence base is not important but what we need to do is to ensure that the evidence that we're gathering is evidence that is needed by the community to ensure that its needs are particularly met.

I've got a particular problem with the notion of best practice and that is that once you've actually achieved best practice, then all of the rest are less than best.  And so if we in FAST achieve best practice, then everyone else is somewhat less than best.  I think we really need to change the language around best practice to good practice because there are lots of good practices even though there can only be one best practice.

The other problem I have with this notion of evidence-based practice is that it suggests that you can transfer good practice from one place into another one in exactly the same way and I just don't think that that's necessarily so.  What works in one place, even in one remote community whether it be Ramingining or Yirrkala or Galiwinku, does not necessarily mean that it's going to work well on Groote Eylandt or in Alice Springs or somewhere else.

The other problem I have with the notion of evidence-based best practice is that, are we drawing on the evidence or are we creating new evidence?  And it's one thing to have an evidence base that comes from America or even Australia and say, "Yep, we've got the research to show that this program should work" but the question I have is, does it work and how does it work in the context that we are delivering the program in?

And so I think one of the major problems with evidence-based practice is that it has the tendency to limit the practice to what is evidence-based and therefore it inhibits the ability of service providers to be risk taking in what they are doing, experimenting new ways of delivering programs and in fact creating new knowledge.  And so I think that there's room for those of us who are in evaluation and in service delivery to actually question this notion of evidence-based best practice, and turn it around to a situation where we've got practice-based best evidence.



The transcript is provided for information purposes only and is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the transcript undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. Before using the material contained in the transcript, the permission of the relevant presenter should be obtained.

The Commonwealth of Australia, represented by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), is not responsible for, and makes no representations in relation to, the accuracy of this transcript. AIFS does not accept any liability to any person for the content (or the use of such content) included in the transcript. The transcript may include or summarise views, standards or recommendations of third parties. The inclusion of such material is not an endorsement by AIFS of that material; nor does it indicate a commitment by AIFS to any particular course of action.

Slide outline

  1. Practice based best evidence: What evidence base counts when evaluating good practice in program delivery?
    • John Guenther, Mal Galbraith, Phillip Dhamarrandji and Bonnie Moss
    • Australian Institute of Family Studies. The views expressed in this webinar are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Institute of Family Studies or the Australian Government.
  2. Is good practice the key to sustainable service delivery?
    • What difference does evaluation make?
    • And for whom does it make a difference?
    • Is all evidence in the evidence-base equal?
    • What happens when policy-based evidence takes over?
  3. What is Families and Schools Together (FAST)?
    • An early intervention family strengthening program
    • Goal: increase the chance of a child being successful in the home, school and community
    • Weekly family-based activities
    • Collaborative team
    • Builds relationships between parent and child, families and other families, and families and the school and other supportive services
  4. FAST in the Northern Territory
    • Since 2003, building relationships between families and schools
    • 2014: 22 sites across Urban and remote community schools
    • Baby, Kids and Youth FAST
    • 160 team trained engaging over 200 families
  5. Program underpinnings: Building a shared understanding
    • Working with people
    • Finding solutions to work alongside people
    • Ownership: finding the right ‘fit’
    • Culturally representative team
    • "It's like the FAST program was written for us … to go back to the way how we used to work together and walk alongside our children"
  6. Strengthening relationships
    • Families and school/community
    • Families and families
    • Parents and children
  7. Northeast Arnhem Land
  8. What does good practice look like?
    • How does FAST support families?
    • What’s good about FAST?
    • How do you talk about FAST?
  9. Building the FAST evidence base
    • Australian Government Stronger Families and Communities Strategy (SFCS) 2004-2008
    • Invest To Grow and Communities for Children funding
    • Partnership origin for FAST
    • Promising Practice Profiles approach
    • Strengthening model and publishing evidence
    • In hindsight this was a great opportunity
    • Remains an environment with sustainability issue
  10. How do evaluators measure good practice?
    • Tension between policy and effective change
    • What is it that is measured?
    • Is it about the logic model… or is it about good practice?
    • Is it about a service delivery contract? Or is it about community response to the program?
  11. Why we need practice-based best evidence
    • There is only one ‘best’ practice, the rest might be ‘good’.
    • Evidence-based practice suggests that what works in one place works in another—this isn’t necessarily so.
    • Using evidence is OK, but shouldn’t creating evidence?
    • Limiting practice to what is evidence-based inhibits risk-taking, experimenting, and creating new knowledge.
  12. Contacts
  13. Join the conversation on the post-webinar forum


John Guenther is Principal Research Leader, Remote Education, at Flinders University and the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation.

John has worked as a researcher and evaluator in the Northern Territory for 12 years and has experience in fields of research including education, training, family services and justice.

Mal Galbraith is the Manager for Families and Schools Together (FAST) NT program, in Marrara, Northern Territory.

Phillip grew up on Elcho Island and currently lives in the North East Arnhem Land community of Ramingining, approximately 450 km east of Darwin.

Phillip has been working with FAST NT for the past three years in his capacity of program trainer across NE Arnhem Land, as well as providing a cultural and learning bridge for non-indigenous FAST staff. Phillip has a role within the Djambarrpuyngu clan as mala leader for the Dhamarrandji people where he has responsibility for passing on knowledge. Phillip is most passionate about sharing and teaching raypirri (respect & discipline) with young people and families in Arnhem Land.

Bonnie Moss is a Research Manager with the Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, where she undertakes research on early childhood wellbeing programs in the Northern Territory.