Genazzano FCJ College values learning as enduring, liberating and transformative. Learning and Brain Sciences are rapidly advancing fields with critical implications for our students’ learning and futures.

'If students understand more about the brain and how they learn, they can maximise the opportunities teachers provide in class and beyond. They will have a better understanding of how to become an independent and empowered learner.'

Karen Jebb, Principal of Genazzano FCJ College
What is Genazzano Institute?

Advancement and innovation in learning and teaching for improved student outcomes is at the heart of progressive education. Recent research indicates that traditional approaches to learning and instruction can, and will, be transformed with a greater understanding of the interrelations of learning outcomes and exciting findings in disciplines such as neurosciences, environmental design, education, psychology, health and information technology.

Vision and Mission

To realize the full potential of every learner; to inspire a lifelong love of learning; to advance knowledge and practice; and to build a community of learners through:

  • Providing exceptional student and staff learning experiences
  • Providing a resourced environment to foster specialised learning

  • Promoting evidence-based practice and engagement with research

  • Collaboration with academic and industry partners

  • Engaging Genazzano and the wider communities. 

Why focus on Learning and Brain Sciences?

The Science of Learning 

Recent studies highlight the association between student learning and new discoveries in disciplines such as neuroscience, environmental design, education, psychology, health, sociology and information technology. The translation of research findings into evidence-based, practical strategies for improved learning in the classroom has the potential to transform education. This presents exciting possibilities and challenges for educators.  

Brain Sciences focus on learning about brain - its functions, organic structure, the nervous system, plasticity, disorders and health. The evolution of research in neuroscience has implications for teaching and learning practices.  

How does the Institute support the Vision and Mission of Genazzano FCJ College?

Genazzano is a faith based community guided by the charism and spirituality of the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus. Education is valued as lifelong and transformative. The importance of life, dignity, faith, companionship, discernment and personal development are central values of Genazzano. The College’s Mission statement promotes engagement with the community, social justice and employment of world’s best practice for exceptional education. The College’s Vision is to foster ‘a passion for life, a love of learning and the courage and confidence to serve.’ 

The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences embodies these educational ideals through the emphasis on advancement in learning and teaching, and the tenet that learning can be a transformative and enduring passion. Engaging the community to share knowledge and support skill development is fundamental to FCJ charism.

What are the benefits for students?

The Institute supports progressive teaching and optimal learning for ALL learners.  Teachers are engaged in on-going professional learning using evidence-based strategies that make an impact on student learning growth. 

Students are challenged to reflect on their own learning experiences and improvement. Students are taught skills to allow them to self-regulate and be more effective in learning. 

21st century employment and living will demand high level communication and STEM skills, flexibility and the capacity to synthesize and integrate knowledge. The Genazzano Institute supports the development of knowledge and competencies as well as cognitive and practical skills essential for the future: collaboration, communication, social skills, creativity, innovation, problem solving, and critical thinking. Students are provided opportunities to participate in activities that foster these skills. Partnerships and collaboration with leading industry and educational bodies supports this work.

What research and practice is informing the work, aims and professional learning of the Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences?

Genazzano FCJ College is a member of the University of Melbourne Network of Schools and has participated in the University's Science of Learning Schools Partnerships. This relationship has enabled staff to engage in reflection on learning and teaching and to have thinking and planning  informed by world class researchers and guided by university mentors. Working closely with the University, collaborating with other educators and exposure to revolutionary research has supported a clear focus on strategies to improve learning outcomes. 

The work of many researchers and organizations in undertaking research, developing theoretical frameworks, learning strategies and programs for better student learning have inspired and informed the development and aims of The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences. 

What are examples of evidence-based practices and activities that have been implemented to improve teaching and learning? `

Genazzano FCJ College has long had a focus on evidence- based practices and improvement and has implemented professional learning and classroom programs to support learning growth. These practices are regularly reviewed and evolving. Recent involvement with the University of Melbourne Network of Schools and the introduction of performance psychology and positive education practices a number of years ago focus on building an understanding of importance of strategies to optimize helpful mindset and thinking to enhance learning, personal and performance experiences. The College has implemented many strategies that have contributed to growth and positive learning outcomes, as measured with pre and post assessments, surveys, feedback and data analysis. The establishment of The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences is part of this evolution to facilitate continued research, collaboration, review and development of instructional practices for improvement.

Some current examples are:

Communication, Student Voice & Feedback

  • A focus on student voice and engagement in learning and teaching practices through a student led project promoting student/teacher discussions on aspects of learning environment, differentiation and student / teacher relationships 
  • Understanding teacher impact: Student feedback surveys used in classrooms across multiple curriculum areas.  The feedback is to improve teacher understanding of student learning experience and to support improvements in practice.

Evidence based teaching for student learning growth

  • Advanced teacher professional learning courses on the science of learning for all staff
  • Ongoing professional focus on assessment and use of data to track student progress and personalise learning with a focus on growth
  • Individual learning plans for all students (Junior school)

Teaching & Learning practices

  • Focus and professional learning on understanding different student learning needs and how to differentiate learning in the classroom
  • Clear learning intentions and success criteria  are required to be displayed for every lesson
  • Feedback on student work is specific, relates to rubric and guides improvement
  • Academic engagement, enjoyment and learning through the facilitation of ‘flow’ has been trialed and evaluated in junior classes. 
  • Focus on language to promote motivation, positive learning experience and inclusiveness for all learners
  • Mindfulness, reflection and other relaxation/ stress reduction techniques are taught at all levels of the College.
  • Students are taught about brain health, function and learning.  They are provided with specific, research informed strategies that support the development of a growth mindset, helpful thinking strategies and executive functioning skills such as organization, planning and self- reflection.  

Learning spaces

Genazzano learning spaces are being constantly improved to reflect an understanding of how students learn and the needs of contemporary learners. Customised modern spaces reflect the College’s vision and needs of students. They include:

  • openness, flexibility and adaptability
  • spaces suitable for collaboration, small groups, practical learning
  • modern, adaptable furniture
  • connectivity to the external environment 
  • ICT resources
  • light, ventilation and environmental considerations
  • clear or movable walls
  • pleasing aesthetics

How does The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences engage with the community?

The Genazzano Institute values community engagement and the sharing of knowledge and skills. The website is a platform to share information and to promote community, educator and student events. 

The Institute has been supported by industry and academic partners to offer opportunities for learning and community engagement. 

Some of these events include free community learning opportunities such as seminars offered on:  ‘The Learning Brain: Maximising Academic Potential (2017)’; 'Thinking strategies for optimal performance (2018) and Total Recall: Boost your Memory (2019).

The Genazzano Institute Schools Competition ‘Explain the Brain’ has been a successful initiative running since 2017 to promote neuroscience to teens across Australia. This project is supported partners ISN and Education Perfect. 

In 2019 the Institute will host an educators conference with the Australian College of Educators.

Catherine Brandon 


Educational & Developmental Psychologist


Ph: (+613) 8862 1000