Date of Submission



The promotion of student wellbeing is a key goal of Australian education, increasingly acknowledged as the responsibility of all educators. This study was designed to improve understanding of how educators develop understanding and practice of student wellbeing. The significance of the inquiry is that it is focused on how educators integrate student wellbeing within their practice and identities rather than simply on what they need to know about student wellbeing and how they can be trained to deliver student wellbeing related content and skills. Narrative methodology and methods are used to explore how educators conceptualise student wellbeing; how they locate student wellbeing within their professional practice; and how these processes are influenced by their personal and professional experiences. Research conversations, incorporating a series of visual and narrative research activities, were undertaken with twenty school-based and system-based teachers and leaders within the Catholic education system in Melbourne, Victoria. Analysis of participants’ accounts focused on both the telling (process) and the told (content). In relation to the telling, the combined processes of drawing and storying practice and experience enabled participants to recognise and articulate their understanding and practice of student wellbeing. Participants emphasised the intertwining of conceptual, practical, and, importantly, relational elements of understanding and practice. Analysis of the stories told highlighted the interwoven influences of people, places, and experiences in rhizomatic, rather than linear, journeys of becoming educators with a focus on student wellbeing. The findings of the study suggest that teachers’ complex stories of student wellbeing as educational practice might be used productively by teacher educators, researchers, policymakers, and educators themselves help to shape an integrated, dialogical agenda for student wellbeing practice, teacher education, research, and policy development and implementation.


School of Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


347 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education and Arts