Fostering rich and supportive learning environments for disadvantaged young people

Prof. Dianne Vella-Brodrick
  • Location: Level 2, Room 207, 100 Leicester St, Carlton, Parkville

Project Details

This project is a collaboration between The Centre for Positive Psychology and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Both organisations share similar goals around advancing the science and practice of wellbeing for students, teachers and education systems. The Brotherhood of St Laurence has been instrumental in developing this proposal based on needs they have identified in their work with disadvantaged young people. The aim of this project is to foster rich and supportive learning environments for disadvantaged young people to achieve educational success, and this in turn contributes to broader self-esteem and well-being.

To meet our aim we will take a multi-disciplinary approach and begin by building on an existing literature review, being undertaken at The Brotherhood of St Laurence. It will include the following areas: education, positive psychology (including taking a strengths based approach) and systems science relevant to learning and personal development. Secondly, we will use the literature review to workshop the ideas with teachers, students and school leaders from disadvantaged schools (one primary and one secondary) and engage in creating ‘systems maps’ – diagrams that show the key elements of the system with a view to obtaining professional and grounded feedback. We will adopt an Appreciative Inquiry framework and an asset based approach to exploring options for further school based data collection, theory development and practice. This innovative approach will redefine experiences and allow us to reach solutions based on a new understanding of complex situations.


Dianne Vella-Brodrick
The late Christine Siokou


University of Melbourne, Melbourne Engagement Grant