Education and Arts

Forum on teacher stress and wellbeing

How well versus stressed are Victorian secondary teachers? And is teacher stress and wellbeing related to schools' behaviour management policies?

These issues were discussed at a forum on teacher stress and wellbeing and the relationship with behaviour management policies on the Melbourne Campus on Thursday 1 November. The event was aimed at staff working in Victorian schools and other educators, as well as policy-makers.

Keynote speaker Associate Professor Tony LaMontagne, Deputy Director of the McCaughey Centre at the Melbourne School of Population Health, presented on best practices for policy-makers and practitioners on job stress prevention and control.

Professor Sheryl Hemphill from ACU's Psychology Senior Proven Researcher Team provided a description of the Australian Research Council Project on School Discipline. This was followed by an overview of the Teacher Survey completed as part of the International Youth Development Study (IYDS) by Rachel Smith, Project Manager, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and an outline of results from the teacher survey by Professor Hemphill.

The forum concluded with a group discussion facilitated by Helen Butler from ACU's School of Education. The panel (which included Professor Hemphill, Rachel Smith, and Dr Geraldine Larkins) and attendees shared common problems faced by teachers.

These issues are of high relevance to secondary school teachers and the broader school community as highlighted by the publication 'School suspensions - a resource for teachers and school administrators'1 which provides a summary of the research on the negative impact of school suspensions and student behaviour and suggests alternatives to the use of school suspensions.

As Professor Hemphill commented, "we are committed not only to communicating research outcomes to the community, but also to doing meaningful research which benefits the community."

1.Hemphill S.A & Hargreaves J. 'School suspensions - a resource for teachers and school administrators', Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne 2010

Dr Delyse Ryan’s drama students Shakespeare Performance Left to right – Rachel Smith (Project Manager, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Helen Butler(Senior Lecturer Education ACU), Professor Sheryl Hemphill (Psychology Senior Proven Researcher ACU), Sr Dr Geraldine Larkins (Senior Lecturer Education ACU)