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Discover student welfare

Professor Robyn Broadbent

Chair and Coordinator of Youth Work

Student Welfare Major and Minor

Professor Robyn Broadbent

I'm a professor of youth work at Victoria University. I'm a qualified youth worker, I'm a youth worker by trade and I'm also a qualified teacher.

I'm actually very passionate about the human rights of young people - that's what gets me out of bed every day. So the student welfare major and minor is quite unique. It's very vocationally focused and has lots of focus on practice. We turn out terrific practitioners and they are on issues such as substance use, drug and alcohol, mental health, trauma, we have a disability unit. So, schools have lots of young people with a range of disabilities, both hidden and not.

We also have an ethics unit where we do a number of ethical scenarios that you're going to face as a teacher. It's done in interactive classrooms using lots of examples. You're also in there with youth workers and so it's a very dynamic classroom.

I think students learn in the minor and major how to manage diverse classrooms ... and what diversity looks like in their classrooms because that's what's happening in schools; we have children and young people with disabilities, with mental health issues... that have come from places of trauma, particularly if you're working with refugee children and young people. And you are going to learn that the behaviours... you're going to recognise those behaviours. You're going to learn about where they might be able to get assistance, but more importantly, I think ... it makes you a better teacher, an empathetic teacher. And for me that's what it's all about, you know, good teachers make a difference in children and young people's lives every day of the week.

The skills that students learn are skills that they will need in their everyday practice as ... as teachers, so you know thinking about our ethical frameworks, our mandatory reporting, the human rights of young people, how does that fit into our education system, as well as you know mental health which is such a driving force at the moment unfortunately. And so, you know, you are going to be a better practitioner by recognising those behaviours and actually knowing something about what to do.

Schools know that they need people that can manage diverse classrooms because that's what they're seeing coming through their doors. And so you're going to be in interviews talking about your understanding of mental health, your understanding of trauma, your understanding of how to manage and recognise those behaviours and support and assist young people and all of the assistance that can be given now for young people and children with disabilities. You're going to have all of that information that's going to make you a better teacher and it's going to make you more employable.

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