Professor of Indigenous Health Education at UTS, John Evans has extensive academic and industry experience in sports and exercise science, and Indigenous sport and education.
While working at the University of Sydney, John established an Indigenous Research Collaboration (IRC) to support and guide research outcomes across a number of faculties at that university, a project he is still heavily involved with. The IRC’s goal is to raise the profile of Indigenous research and strengthen research activity and publication output in the area of Indigenous research.
John has also helped develop a series of subjects that provide students with a pathway into Indigenous studies.
John is an ARC Indigenous Research Fellow, holds a number of ARC competitive research grants and co-authored Advanced Rugby Coaching: An Holistic Approach, which sold out in Europe in the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2015.
- Sports and exercise science, coaching
- Indigenous education
- Indigenous sport
Can supervise: Yes
Areas of research supervision
- Indigenous sport
- Sports coaching
- Indigenous education
Light, R.L. & Evans, J.R. 2017, 'Socialisation, culture and the foundations of expertise in elite level Indigenous Australian sportsmen', Sport, Education and Society, vol. 22, no. 7, pp. 852-863.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 Taylor & Francis. This article reports on an ongoing study that investigates the development of expertise in rugby league and Australian football by Indigenous Australians as a socially and culturally situated process of learning. Focused on the sampling phase of the Development Model of Participation in Sport (6–12 years of age), it combines narrative inquiry and grounded theory methodologies to identify the important role that participation in a range of different sports and in informal games plays in the participants' development of expertise, as a process of socialisation.
Light, R.L., Evans, J.R. & Lavallee, D. 2017, 'The cultural transition of Indigenous Australian athletes' into professional sport', Sport, Education and Society, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This article reports on a study that inquired into the journeys of sixteen Indigenous Australian athletes from their first touch of the footy to the Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) that identified two distinct stages of their journeys. These were: (1) the development of expertize and of a distinctly Aboriginal style of play from their first touch of a footy to around the age of thirteen and, (2) a process of cultural transitioning toward and into the AFL and NRL. This article takes an interdisciplinary approach to focus on the second stage of transitioning into the world of professional sport and sport as business. Identifying this as a process of cultural transitioning from local Aboriginal culture to the culture of professional sport provided insight into this transitioning process while illuminating the profound importance of culture in this process. It also helped identify the ways in which tensions between local approaches to 'footy' as play and cultural expression and professional sport as work, within the global culture of sport-as-business, were manifested in the challenges that the participants had to overcome. This article thus contributes to knowledge about Indigenous development of sporting expertize, of the specific challenges they face in transitioning into the global culture of commodified sport and how they succeed from a cultural perspective.
Schranz, N.K., Olds, T., Boyd, R., Evans, J., Gomersall, S.R., Hardy, L., Hesketh, K., Lubans, D.R., Ridgers, N.D., Straker, L., Vella, S., Ziviani, J. & Tomkinson, G.R. 2016, 'Results From Australia's 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.', Journal of physical activity & health, vol. 13, no. 11 Suppl 2, pp. S87-S94.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Two years on from the inaugural Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) Physical Activity Report Card, there has been little to no change with the majority of Australian children still insufficiently active.The 2016 AHKA Report Card was developed using the best available national- and state-based physical activity data, which were evaluated by the AHKA Research Working Group using predetermined weighting criteria and benchmarks to assign letter grades to the 12 Report Card indicators.In comparison with 2014, Overall Physical Activity Levels was again assigned a D- with Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation increasing to a B (was B-) and Active Transport declining to a C- (was C). The settings and sources of influence again performed well (A- to a C+), however Government Strategies and Investments saw a decline (C+ to a D). The traits associated with physical activity were also graded poorly (C- to a D).Australian youth are insufficiently active and engage in high levels of screen-based sedentary behaviors. While a range of support structures exist, Australia lacks an overarching National Physical Activity Plan that would unify the country and encourage the cultural shift needed to face the inactivity crisis head on.
Dalton, B.M., Wilson, R., Evans, J.R. & Cochrane, S. 2015, 'Australian Indigenous youth's participation in sport and associated health outcomes: Empirical analysis and implications', Sport Management Review, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 57-68.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Analysis of the 2012 Mission Australia Youth Survey (MAYS) finds that among Indigenous youth aged 15–19 years there is a positive relationship between self-reported participation in sport and two health outcomes: rating of overall health and risk of mental health disorder. We find that Indigenous youth who participate in sport are 3.5 times more likely to report good general health and 1.6 times more likely to have no probable serious mental illness. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to potential future research and policy. In terms of research, the analysis illustrates the utility of brief and cost-effective measures of health outcomes that could be used in future evaluations of specific programs targeting Indigenous youth participation in sport. We also discuss the potential ramifications, for practitioners and management professionals, of the particular policy paths needed to address the current gaps in service delivery to Indigenous communities, and for the development of grassroots, evidence-based, well resourced, culturally sensitive, inclusive and community-led programs. This can, in part, be achieved by ensuring youth sport development programs are shaped by Indigenous youth themselves.
Light, R.L. & Evans, J.R. 2013, 'Dispositions of elite-level Australian rugby coaches towards game sense: Characteristics of their coaching habitus', Sport, Education and Society, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 407-423.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Bourdieu's analytic concept of habitus has provided a valuable means of theorising coach development but is yet to be operationalised in empirical research. This article redresses this oversight by drawing on a larger study that inquired into how the 'coaching habitus' of elite-level Australian and New Zealand rugby coaches structured their interpretation and use of the Game Sense approach to coaching to illustrate how habitus can be operationalised. It focuses on the identification of characteristics of the individual coaching habitus of four elite-level Australian rugby coaches and how they shape their interpretation and use of Game Sense. Drawing on suggestions made by Lau, we identify the characteristics of four individual 'coaching habitus' by examining their views on: (1) the characteristics of good coaches; (2) characteristics of great rugby players and how to develop them; and (3) their dispositions towards innovation in coaching. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Light, R.L. & Evans, J.R. 2011, 'Erratum to The impact of Game Sense pedagogy on Australian rugby coaches' practice: A question of pedagogy (Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, (2010), 15, 2, (103-115), 10.1080/17408980902729388)', Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, vol. 16, no. 1, p. 101.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Burgess, C.M. & Evans, J.R. 2017, 'Culturally responsive relationships focused pedagogies: The key to quality teaching and creating quality learning environments' in Handbook of Research on Promoting Cross-Cultural Competence and Social Justice in Teacher Education, IGI Global, USA, pp. 1-31.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017, IGI Global.This chapter examines the importance of culturally responsive relationships-focused pedagogical approaches in engaging Aboriginal students in their learning and the significance of this to improving their educational outcomes. Significantly, the themes and issues raised in this chapter reflect much of the international literature on Indigenous, minority and marginalised students. The following enablers are necessary when implementing culturally responsive relationships focused pedagogies: Engaging with Aboriginal families and community members; Harnessing Aboriginal students' backgrounds, lived experiences and interests as classroom resources; Implementing innovative place-based curriculum approaches, and Exploring holistic teacher professional learning opportunities. The combination of these factors creates quality learning environments as places of belonging and socio-cultural support underpinned by mobilising Aboriginal family and community social and cultural capital in the educational process. Once schools and teachers realise the potential of this approach, conditions are created to improve the academic, social and cultural outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Evans, J.R. & Burgess, C.M. 2017, 'Culturally responsive relationships focused pedagogies: The key to quality teaching and creating quality learning environments' in Handbook of Research on Promoting Cross-Cultural Competence and Social Justice in Teacher Education, IGI Global, USA, pp. 1-31.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The Handbook of Research on Promoting Cross-Cultural Competence and Social Justice in Teacher Education elucidates the benefits, challenges, and strategies necessary to prepare teachers to meet the needs of a diverse student body.
Evans, J.R. 2014, 'The nature and importance of coach–player relationships in the uptake of Game Sense by elite rugby coaches in Australia and New Zealand' in Contemporary Developments in Games Teaching, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 133-145.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Light, R.L. & Evans, J.R. 2014, 'Putting habitus to work in research on how coaches learn through experience: Identifying a coaching habitus' in Pierre Bourdieu and Physical Culture, Taylor & Francis, USA, pp. 65-73.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Introduction The use of habitus in the coaching literature has been helpful for understanding how experience shapes coaching practice but the use of it to generate and analyze data in empirical research is very limited (Hassanin and Light 2013) where it is used as 'an explanation of data rather than as a way of working with it' (Reay 2004: 440). With one exception (Light and Evans 2010) the use of habitus in the coaching literature has been limited to an explanatory role or layered over analysis rather than being operationalized (see, for example, Taylor and Garratt 2010).