Professor John Guenther

Adjunct Professor, Nulungu Research Institute

PhD, B App Sc (App Chem), Dip Th(Miss)

Phone: 08 9192 0670

  • Biography

    John Guenther is currently the Research Leader - Education and Training with Batchelor Institute, based in Darwin, NT. John Guenther is focused on building an evidence base for policy and practice, mainly in fields related to education and training, particularly as they intersect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Research is not just about finding out new and interesting information. It is also about applying it to the lived experiences of people. It is about challenging assumptions and dispelling myths. It should be useful and helpful, not just to those who fund it and do it, but to those who are involved in the context of the research. To that end, John is committed to building research capacity through supervision, collaborative research projects and through good professional and ethical practice. John has worked as a researcher and evaluator in remote Australian contexts—particularly the Northern Territory— since 2003 on issues related to education, training, families and children, justice, suicide prevention, child protection and domestic violence. He has also worked as an adult learning practitioner in community education, vocational education and higher education sectors.

  • Research expertise and supervision

    Education and Training systems
    Adult learning and vocational education and training policy and practice, particularly as it intersects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their aspirations
    Family and children strengthening programs and services
    Qualitative and Mixed Methods methodologies
  • Book chapters

    • Guenther, J., Disbray, S., Benveniste, T., & Osborne, S. (2017). ‘Red Dirt’ Schools and Pathways into Higher Education. In J. Frawley, S. Larkin, & J. A. Smith (Eds.), Indigenous Pathways, Transitions and Participation in Higher Education: From Policy to Practice (pp. 251-270). Singapore: Springer Singapore.
    • Guenther , J., Disbray, S., & Osborne, S. (2018). "It’s just teasing": Responding to conflict in remote Australian schools. In P. T. Slee, G. Skrzypiec, & C. Cefai (Eds.), Child & Adolescent Wellbeing & Violence Prevention in Schools, : Routledge.
    • Guenther, J., & Falk, I. (2019). Generalizing from Qualitative Research: A Reconceptualization Based on Vocational Learning Examples. In S. McGrath, M. Mulder, J. Papier, & R. Suart (Eds.), Handbook of Vocational Education and Training: Developments in the Changing World of Work (pp. 1-19). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
    • Guenther , J., McRae-Williams, E., Osborne, S., & Williams, E. (2018). Decolonising colonial education researchers in 'near remote' parts of Australia. In G. Vass, J. Maxwell, S. Rudolph, & K. N. Gulson (Eds.), The Relationality of Race in Education Research (pp. 108-119). New York: Taylor & Francis.
  • Journal articles and proceedings

      • Guenther , J., Benveniste, T., Redman-MacLaren, M., Mander, D., McCalman, J., O'Bryan, M., . . . Stewart, R. (2020). Thinking with theory as a policy evaluation tool: The case of boarding schools for remote First Nations students. Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 20(1), 34-52. doi:
      • Guenther, J., Dwyer, A., Wooltorton, S., & Wilks, J. (2021). Aboriginal student engagement and success in Kimberley tertiary education. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 1-9. doi:10.1017/jie.2021.2
      • Guenther, J., & Falk, I. (2019). Generalising  from Qualitative Research (GQR): A new old approach. The Qualitative Report, 24(5), 1012-1033. Retrieved from
      • Guenther, J., & Fogarty, B. (2020). Examining remote Australian First Nations boarding through capital theory lenses. Critical Studies in Education, 61(5), 594-610. doi:10.1080/17508487.2018.1543201
      • Guenther, J., Lowe, K., Burgess, C., Vass, G., & Moodie, N. (2019). Factors contributing to educational outcomes for First Nations students from remote communities: A systematic review. Australian Educational Researcher, 42(Special issue. Aboriginal voices: Systematic reviews of indigenous education), 319-340. doi:10.1007/s13384-019-00308-4
      • Guenther, J., Ober, R., Osborne, S., & Williamson-Kefu, M. (2020). Enacting socially just and transformative education through classroom pedagogy. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 1-20. doi:10.1080/14681366.2020.1774798
      • Guenther , J., & Osborne, S. (2020). Choice-less Choice for Rural Boarding Students and their Families. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 30(2), 111-126. Retrieved from
      • Guenther, J., & Osborne, S. (2020). Did DI do it? The impact of a programme designed to improve literacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in remote schools. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 49(2), 163-170. doi:10.1017/jie.2019.28
      • Guenther, J., & Osborne, S. (2020). Red Dirt education leaders ‘caught in the middle’: priorities for local and non-local leaders in remote schools. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 49(1), 57-69. doi:doi:10.1017/jie.2018.17
      • Guenther, J., Osborne, S., Arnott, A., & McRae-Williams, E. (2017). Hearing the voice of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander training stakeholders using research methodologies and theoretical frames of reference. Race Ethnicity and Education, 20(2), 197-208. doi:10.1080/13613324.2015.1110294
      • Guenther, J., Smede, B., & Young, M. (2020). Digital inclusion in central Australia: what is it and what makes it different? Rural Society, 29, 154-170. doi:10.1080/10371656.2020.1819524
      • Wilks, J., Dwyer, A., Wooltorton, S., & Guenther , J. (2020). ‘We got a different way of learning.’ A message to the sector from Aboriginal students living and studying in remote communities. Australian Universities Review, 62(2), 25-38. Retrieved from
  • Conference papers

    • McRae-Williams, E., & Guenther, J. (2016). Our North, Whose Future? Paper presented at the Developing Northern Australia Conference 2016, Darwin. 20-22 June 2016. Guenther, J., & McRae-Williams, E. (2015). The training and employment challenge of remote communities: Is collaboration the solution? Paper presented at the AVETRA 18th Annual Conference, Melbourne. 10 April 2015. Retrieved from
    • Guenther, J., Milgate, G., O'Beirne, P., & Osborne, S. (2014). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aspirations and expectations of schooling in very remote Australian schools. Paper presented at the AARE Conference Proceedings, Queensland University of Technology Kelvin Grove Campus, Brisbane. 1-4 December 2014. Retrieved from
    • Guenther, J., Osborne, S., Arnott, A., McRae-Williams, E., & Disbray, S. (2014). Amplifying the voice of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander VET stakeholders using research methodologies: Volume 1. Paper presented at the AVETRA 17th International Conference, Surfers Paradise. 22-24 April 2013. Retrieved from
    • McRae-Williams, E., & Guenther, J. (2014). Learning Pathways for Economic Enterprise in Remote Aboriginal Communities: Are Certificate IIIs the ticket? Paper presented at the AVETRA 17th International Conference, Surfers Paradise. 22-24 April 201. Retrieved from
  • Reports