About Genazzano Institute

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.

Learning Sciences

An exciting interdisciplinary field focused on theory and practice to advance knowledge and innovation in learning and teaching.  The work draws on evidence from various fields including: cognitive science, information technology, sociology, education, psychology, neurosciences and design studies. The focus is on improvement and innovation in learning, thinking, curriculum design, instruction and educational environments.

Brain Sciences

Specialise on researching the 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.

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.  The aims are to

  • Promote effective classroom strategies for learning growth  
  • Nurture curiosity, creativity, flexible thinking, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving through engaging and effective educational programs
  • Collaborate with leading academic and industry partners
  • Share information, research and experience with the wider community 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences?

The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences is a professional learning and research initiative of Genazzano FCJ College. The goals of the Institute are: to build knowledge and skills, to engage with evidence and research and to implement best practice teaching in order to maximise student learning growth. 

Why focus on Learning and Brain Sciences?

Advancement and innovation in learning and teaching for student growth are at the heart of progressive education.  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.  

How does the Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences 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 every student.  All 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 College is a member of the University of Melbourne Network of Schools.  This relationship has enabled staff to engage in reflection on learning and teaching and to have thinking and planning  informed by world class researchers including John Hattie, Patrick Griffin and Stephen Dinham 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 must be acknowledged as having inspired and informed the development and aims of The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences.  These include, but are not limited to, people such as: John Hattie, Howard Gardner, Robert Marzano, Dylan Wiliam, Carol Dweck, Janet Clinton, Edward Deci, Richard Ryan, Terry Orlick and Angela Duckworth. Organisations such as the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, the Science of Learning Research Centre, the Centre for Educational Neuroscience, Project Zero Harvard, Evidence Based Teachers Network, Learning Sciences Institute Australia, Centre for Learning [email protected], All Kinds of Minds, and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning of St Andrew’s school continue to make significant and revolutionary contributions to this field.

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 work through 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.

Using data as evidence

  • School focus on growth data using Naplan and Hattie’s effect size calculator to identify progress of every student
  • Ongoing professional learning for 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 is being trialed and evaluated in junior classes. 
  • Focus on language to promote motivation and growth mindset through: Growth Mindset training for all teachers;  Growth Mindset action research in Year 10 and Year 11 maths 
  • Motivational interviewing framework designed to support teacher/ student conversations (to be evaluated in 2017)
  • 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.  Some of these events are free community learning opportunities such as the 2106 ‘Growth Mindset’ parent seminar and the 2017 community event on:  ‘The Learning Brain: Maximising Academic Potential.’  The Genazzano Institute Schools Competition ‘Explain the Brain’ and afternoon student seminars are free opportunities for students to develop knowledge.

The Institute plans to offer further opportunities for community engagement, educator professional learning and collaboration in the future.