Welfare to Wellbeing: Australian Education’s Significant Opportunity

Welfare to Wellbeing:
Australian Education’s Significant Opportunity

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2017 Kevin Majoribanks 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 Majoribanks’ 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.


Mathew is Director of Wellbeing & Positive Education at St Peter’s College, Adelaide. Where he has served on the school’s Senior Leadership Team since 2011. Here, he directs the whole school strategy for wellbeing. As an academic, Mathew is a Principal Fellow and Associate Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne, an affiliate of Cambridge University’s Wellbeing Institute and an adjunct in the School of Education at the University of Adelaide. He is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology (Springer). Mathew serves on the education committee of St Mark’s College, Adelaide. Is the World Congress Lead for the International Positive Psychology Association Education Division, is a global representative for the International Positive Education Network, and Chair of the south Australian Chapter of the Positive Education Schools Association. Mathew was awarded Fellowship of the Australian College of Educators in 2016 and Australian council for Educational Leaders South Australian Leadership Medal in 2017. Mathew was conferred his PhD from the University of Adelaide (2004) under the supervision of Professor J.J. Smolicz AM and Dr Margaret J. Secombe.


The late Emeritus Professor Marjoribanks served as the Vice-Chancellor from 1987-1993 and retired as Dean of the School of Education in 2005. Professor Marjoribanks passed away in 2006, leaving a legacy to promote discourse, dialogue and debates within the educatioal community and to enhance further an inclusive education context for all to excel.

Event Details:
Wednesday 4th October 2017

Professional Development Opportunity for Teachers: you may register on the night for a certificate of attendance.

View webpage: Click Here

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