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 helped 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.
John has extensive experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physical activity and sport research across both qualitative and quantitative disciplines. John has built an academic career, which has blended personal experience from the sport and physical activity industry with a professional career in the academy. John is recognised as a leading academic in the areas of Indigenous sport sociology, Indigenous sport and physical activity studies, pedagogy and coaching. John Evans is one of a small number of Indigenous academics with the skills that can traverse both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and incorporate an Indigenous standpoint. His expertise has been sort by a number of national sporting organizations such as Netball Australia, The National Rugby League and the Australian Rugby Union
Can supervise: YES
- Sports and exercise science, coaching
- Indigenous education
- Indigenous sport
Can supervise: Yes
Areas of research supervision
- Indigenous sport
- Sports coaching
- Indigenous education
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018. This book presents journeys of sixteen Indigenous Australian athletes from their first touch of a 'footy' to the highest levels of Australian football and rugby league, conceptualized as a processof learning. The authors challenge simplistic explanations of Indigenous success in Australianfootball and rugby league, centered on the notion of the 'natural athlete'. The book tracesthe development of Indigenous sporting expertise as a lifelong process of learning situated inlocal culture and shaped by the challenges of transitioning into professional sport. Individually, the life stories told by the participants provide fascinating insights into experience, cultureand learning. Collectively, they provide deep understanding of the powerful influence thatAboriginal culture exerted on the participants' journeys to the top of their sports while locatingindividual experience and agency within larger economic, cultural and social considerations.Stories of Indigenous Success in Australian Sport will be of interest to students and scholarsacross a range of disciplines including Indigenous studies, physical education, education, sportmanagement and sociology.
Light, RL, Evans, JR & Lavallee, D 2019, 'The cultural transition of Indigenous Australian athletes' into professional sport', Sport, Education and Society, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 415-426.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or 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.
Barnett, LM, Dudley, DA, Telford, RD, Lubans, DR, Bryant, AS, Roberts, WM, Morgan, PJ, Schranz, NK, Weissensteiner, JR, Vella, SA, Salmon, J, Ziviani, J, Okely, AD, Wainwright, N, Evans, JR & Keegan, RJ 2019, 'Guidelines for the selection of physical literacy measures in physical education in Australia', Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 119-125.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2019 Human Kinetics, Inc. Assessment of physical literacy poses a dilemma of what instrument to use. There is currently no guide regarding the suitability of common assessment approaches. The purpose of this brief communication is to provide a user's guide for selecting physical literacy assessment instruments appropriate for use in school physical education and sport settings. Although recommendations regarding specific instruments are not provided, the guide offers information about key attributes and considerations for the use. A decision flow chart has been developed to assist teachers and affiliated school practitioners to select appropriate methods of assessing physical literacy. School physical education and sport scenarios are presented to illustrate this process. It is important that practitioners are empowered to select the most appropriate instrument/s to suit their needs.
Keegan, RJ, Barnett, LM, Dudley, DA, Telford, RD, Lubans, DR, Bryant, AS, Roberts, WM, Morgan, PJ, Schranz, NK, Weissensteiner, JR, Vella, SA, Salmon, J, Ziviani, J, Wainwright, N & Evans, JR 2019, 'Defining physical literacy for application in Australia: A modified delphi method', Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 105-118.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2019 Human Kinetics, Inc. Purpose: The development of a physical literacy definition and standards framework suitable for implementation in Australia. Method:Modified Delphi methodology. Results: Consensus was established on four defining statements: Core-Physical literacy is lifelong holistic learning acquired and applied in movement and physical activity contexts; Composition-Physical literacy reflects ongoing changes integrating physical, psychological, cognitive, and social capabilities; Importance-Physical literacy is vital in helping us lead healthy and fulfilling lives through movement and physical activity; and Aspiration-A physically literate person is able to draw on his/her integrated physical, psychological, cognitive, and social capacities to support health promoting and fulfilling movement and physical activity, relative to the situation and context, throughout the lifespan. The standards framework addressed four learning domains (physical, psychological, cognitive, and social), spanning five learning configurations/levels. Conclusion: The development of a bespoke program for a new context has important implications for both existing and future programs.
Davis, ER, Wilson, R & Evans, JR 2019, 'Media neglect of Indigenous student performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2001-2015', Australian Journal of Indigenous Education.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. This research explores media reporting of Indigenous students' Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results in two national and 11 metropolitan Australian newspapers from 2001 to 2015. Of almost 300 articles on PISA, only 10 focused on reporting of Indigenous PISA results. While general or non-Indigenous PISA results featured in media reports, especially at the time of the publication of PISA results, there was overwhelming neglect of Indigenous results and the performance gap. A thematic analysis of articles showed mainstream PISA reporting had critical commentary which is not found in the Indigenous PISA articles. The three themes identified include: A lack of teacher quality in remote and rural schools; the debate on Gonski funding recommendations and the PISA achievement gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. This study concluded the overwhelming neglect is linked to media bias, which continues to drive mainstream media coverage of Indigenous Australians.
Macniven, R, Canuto, K, Wilson, R, Bauman, A & Evans, J 2019, 'The impact of physical activity and sport on social outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: A systematic scoping review', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019 Objectives: To identify and describe existing evidence of the impact of sport and physical activity programs on social outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Design: Systematic scoping review. Methods: Nine scientific databases (MEDLINE, Scopus, SPORTSDiscus, PsycINFO, Informit, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), The Cochrane Library, The Campbell Library, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses) and grey literature were systematically searched for programs or activities that target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and use physical activity and sport participation to improve one or more of six social and community outcomes of: (i) education; (ii) employment; (iii) culture; (iv) social and emotional wellbeing; (v) life skills; (vi) crime reduction. Results: Of the 1160 studies identified, 20 met the inclusion criteria and were published between 2003 and 2018. Most studies reported positive findings across multiple, broad outcomes of education (N = 11), employment (N = 1), culture (N = 9), social and emotional wellbeing (N = 12), life skills (N = 5) and crime reduction (N = 5). Some evidence was found for increased school attendance and improved self-esteem resulting from physical activity and sport participation as well as enhanced aspects of culture, such as cultural connections, connectedness, values and identity. Conclusions: There is some evidence of benefit across the six social outcomes from physical activity and sport programs. This promotes their continuation and development, although critical appraisal of their methods is needed to better quantify benefits, as well as the generation of new evidence across indicators where gaps currently exist, particularly for employment and crime reduction outcomes.
Macniven, R, Canuto, K, Wilson, R, Bauman, A & Evans, J 2019, 'Impact of physical activity and sport on social outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: a scoping review protocol.', JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports, vol. 17, no. 7, pp. 1305-1311.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
OBJECTIVE:The objective of this scoping review is to identify and describe existing research on the impact of sport and physical activity programs on social outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. INTRODUCTION:Physical activity can be particularly beneficial for groups such as Indigenous populations, who have increased rates of chronic disease. Systematic reviews have demonstrated the positive impact of physical activity on a range of health indicators, and there is also support for the positive impact of physical activity on wider social outcomes. However, there is a lack of evidence for the benefits of physical activity for broader social outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. INCLUSION CRITERIA:This scoping review will consider studies that include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of any age from any setting or region of Australia. Studies will be considered if they report on programs or activities that use physical activity and sport participation as a component or tool to improve one or more of six social and community outcomes: education, employment, culture, social wellbeing, life skills and crime prevention. METHODS:Nine databases will be searched, as well as a selection of websites containing resources related to physical activity, sport and social outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Studies published in English will be included. No date limits will be set. After screening the titles and abstracts of identified citations, potentially relevant studies will be retrieved in full. Data extraction will be presented in a table with accompanying narrative.
Evans, JR, Wilson, R, Coleman, C, Man, WYN & Olds, T 2018, 'Physical activity among indigenous Australian children and youth in remote and non-remote areas', Social Science and Medicine, vol. 206, pp. 93-99.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 Sport and physical activity (PA) hold particular significance in Australian Indigenous communities, and have the potential to address many of the health and education challenges faced by Indigenous communities. Optimal levels of PA are an important foundation in efforts to build healthy communities and reduce social disadvantage experienced to date. Yet little evidence relating to the current levels of PA within these communities, or the relationship between PA and outcomes, has been available. Drawing on national survey data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we examine levels of PA in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2012-13. These data describe PA levels among Indigenous Australians, aged 5–17 years, in remote and non-remote communities. We also examine the relationship between PA and participation in education and self-reported health among 15–17 year olds. Overall, participation rates appear to be high, with 64–84% of youth reporting at least 60 min of PA on the previous day. A gender gap was also evident, with lower levels of activity among girls. PA decreased with age, particularly at or around the age of puberty. There were no significant associations between PA and either self-reported health or engagement in study. There was a relationship between high PA and low area-level socio-economic status in remote areas, but no association in non-remote areas. The differences between remote and non-remote areas highlight the importance of disaggregated analysis of Indigenous populations and are consistent with qualitative studies identifying locally contextualised factors influential in promoting PA.
Light, RL & Evans, JR 2018, 'Learning as transformation in the development of expertise by elite indigenous Australian athletes', Sport Mont, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 93-96.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 Montenegrin Sports Academy. All rights reserved. This article addresses the lack of attention paid to research on the development of Indigenous sporting expertise from a socio-cultural perspective. It inquires into the role that informal games played in the development of Australian Indigenous AFL and NRL players up to the age of thirteen. The study adopted a combined narrative inquiry and constructivist grounded theory methodology. The study highlighted to central role that informal games played in the development of expertise and a distinctive Aboriginal style of play shaped by Indigenous culture. This article suggests the central role that informal games shaped by Aboriginal culture played in the development of expertise and an Aboriginal style of play. It also suggests the need for coaching beyond Indigenous players to consider the use of games in training regimes.
Schranz, N, Glennon, V, Evans, J, Gomersall, S, Hardy, L, Hesketh, KD, Lubans, D, Ridgers, ND, Straker, L, Stylianou, M, Tomkinson, GR, Vella, S, Ziviani, J & Olds, T 2018, 'Results from Australia's 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth', Journal of Physical Activity and Health, vol. 15, no. S2, pp. S315-S317.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
A decades worth of high quality surveillance sources have consistently shown that Australian kids are not meeting the physical
activity (PA) guidelines of at least 60 min moderate-to-vigorous
PA (MVPA) each day of the week.1 This is concerning because
physical inactivity is assocaited with a myriad of unfavourable
health outcomes. This paper will summarise the results from the
2018 Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) PA Report Card,
with the assigned grades based upon representative national and
state/territory-based data sources (see Figure 1 for 2018 Report
Evans, JR & Curry, C 2018, 'Implementing Sport, Physical Activity and Physical Education in New South Wales, Australia, primary schools', Ágora para la Educación Física y el Deporte, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 27-27.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
A renewed focus on Physical Education in New South Wales primary schools has the potential to act as an intervention that has positive long-term implications for the whole population. The introduction of physical education (PE) as part of the National Curriculum means the role of PE in Australian primary schools is now open for renewed attention. The rise of an international obesity epidemic means that that the role of PE in primary schools has the potential to make a positive impact on public health outcomes. There could be significant long term savings from well-organized PE programs in primary schools delivered by teaching staff educated in quality physical education. In addition there is also an historical and emerging body of research which links physical activity to academic performance. However not all teachers in primary schools have the skills or life experiences to effectively teach PE. In order to achieve these outcomes we posit that the use of a Game Centered Teaching approach and the use of an underlying pedagogy have the potential to provide more meaningful experiences for students and teachers. In order to implement a Game Centered Teaching approach we advocate the use of specialist PE teachers rather than outsourcing the delivery of PE in schools.
Light, RL & Evans, JR 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: UTS OPUS or 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.
Farnbach, S, Evans, J, Eades, A-M, Gee, G, Fernando, J, Hammond, B, Simms, M, DeMasi, K & Hackett, M 2017, 'Process evaluation of a primary healthcare validation study of a culturally adapted depression screening tool for use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: study protocol', BMJ Open, vol. 7, no. 11, pp. e017612-e017612.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Introduction Process evaluations are conducted alongside research projects to identify the context, impact and consequences of research, determine whether it was conducted per protocol and to understand how, why and for whom an intervention is effective. We present a process evaluation protocol for the Getting it Right research project, which aims to determine validity of a culturally adapted depression screening tool for use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In this process evaluation, we aim to: (1) explore the context, impact and consequences of conducting Getting It Right, (2) explore primary healthcare staff and community representatives' experiences with the research project, (3) determine if it was conducted per protocol and (4) explore experiences with the depression screening tool, including perceptions about how it could be implemented into practice (if found to be valid). We also describe the partnerships established to conduct this process evaluation and how the national Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research is met.
Methods and analysis Realist and grounded theory approaches are used. Qualitative data include semistructured interviews with primary healthcare staff and community representatives involved with Getting it Right. Iterative data collection and analysis will inform a coding framework. Interviews will continue until saturation of themes is reached, or all participants are considered. Data will be triangulated against administrative data and patient feedback. An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group guides this research. Researchers will be blinded from validation data outcomes for as long as is feasible.
Schranz, NK, Olds, T, Boyd, R, Evans, J, Gomersall, SR, Hardy, L, Hesketh, K, Lubans, DR, Ridgers, ND, Straker, L, Vella, S, Ziviani, J & Tomkinson, GR 2016, 'Results From Australia's 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth', JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & HEALTH, vol. 13, no. 11, pp. S87-S94.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Dalton, BM, Wilson, R, Evans, JR & 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, RL & Evans, JR 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
Light, RL & Evans, JR 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, CM & Evans, JR 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: UTS OPUS or 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.
Light, RL & Evans, JR 2014, 'Putting habitus to work in research on how coaches learn through experience: Identifying a coaching habitus' in Hunter, L, Smith, W & Emerald, E (eds), 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).
Evans, JR 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 Quay, J, Light, R, Harvey, S & Mooney, A (eds), Contemporary Developments in Games Teaching, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 133-145.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Evans, JR, Evans, RR, Regusci, CL & Rademacher, W 1999, 'Mode of action, metabolism, and uptake of BAS 125W, prohexadione-calcium', HortScience, pp. 1200-1201.