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Matthew A. White

Welfare to Wellbeing: Australian Education's Significant Opportunity

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2017 Kevin Marjoribanks Memorial Lecture

The 2017 lecture will be presented by Associate Professor Mathew A. White PhD: Director of Wellbeing & Positive Education, St Peter's College, Adelaide. Associate Professor &  Principal Fellow, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne. Adjunct Lecturer, School of Education, The University of Adelaide.


Kevin Marjoribanks’ ground-breaking research confirmed the role of family and school environments as the origin of inequalities in education (Marjoribanks, 1972, 1979, & 2002). Today, Australia’s sliding results in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) highlight that our nation’s students are going backward in mathematics, reading, and science. Not as well-known and just as alarming is that PISA also highlights that Australia has recorded the fifth largest decline in school belonging and engagement of all OECD countries from 2003 to 2012 (Waters & Loton, 2017). It is recognised that teachers play a critical role in developing student outcomes, but retaining the best people in the profession and teacher burnout are significant issues (Cooney Horvath, Lodge & Hattie, 2016; Hattie, 2012, 2014). Australian education reform appears to be caught in a false dilemma that it’s educating for academic accomplishment or wellbeing, not academic growth and wellbeing. In the 2017 Kevin Marjoribanks Memorial Lecture, Mathew White, argues that Australian education policies should be more integrated and focused on education for academic growth and wellbeing. He will explore the complex nature of teaching, argue for an evidence-based approach to teaching practices, and call for robust leadership training to equip graduating teachers. Reflecting on Kevin Marjoribanks’ legacy, he contends that teacher effectiveness in evidence-based approaches to learning, teaching, and wellbeing is at the heart of this challenge. To do this, he argues that pre-service teacher education should integrate an evidence-based wellbeing approach and invest in building teaching and leading capabilities that will impact students, schools, and systems.

*Professional Teachers can on the night sign up to receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in the professional development activity.

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