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School of Education and Professional Studies

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Positive people flourish.  Teaching, learning and leadership are all wonderful examples of human endeavours that are energised more effectively by positivity and resourcefulness. My role is to enable others to teach, learn, lead and live in more positive, meaningful (and evidence-based) ways

Dr Mia O'Brien (PhD) is a senior lecturer in the School of Education and Professional studies and is currently the Coordinator of Initial Teacher Educaiton & Professional Experience. Her areas of specialistation are pedagogy, professional learning and the application of positive psychologies to school and classroom contexts. 

Dr Mia O'Brien

School of Education and Professional Studies

Coordinator of Initial Teacher Education

Fields of Expertise

  • Action Research
  • Pedagogy
  • Professional Learning
  • Initial Teacher Education

Speeches, Seminars and Presentations

Mia is an experienced presenter and confident facilitator. She has delivered a range of topics at various seminars to clients which include:

  • Positive psychology and education: what’s the connection, what’s the potential?
  • Rethinking student engagement: why teaching practices matter
  • How do we foster growth mindsets in classrooms?
  • Positivity and strengths-based leading for learning: a seminar for leaders.

Industry Experience

Mia is developing a state and national profile in positive education and innovative pedagogies within the academic and professional development spheres. She currently leads a whole-school pedagogical renewal project funded by one of the largest independent schools in Southeast Queensland, a multi-school
pedagogical renewal project funded by the Australian Research Council; and is an invited professional learning facilitator for the ‘Teachers-as-Researchers’ (action research consultant) initiative that runs across several dozen schools under the auspices of the Independent Schools of Queensland (ISQ) Association.

  • Professional Memberships: Australian Teacher Education Association, Australian Association for Research in Education, Educational Praxis, Practice Theory & Action Research (Special Interest Group)

Research Expertise

Mia has developed her skills as a researcher and facilitator of pedagogical renewal through leadership of several national, competitively funded research projects, all of which are focused on pedagogical renewal and student engagement through action research. She has particular strengths in the facilitation of professional learning and classroom-based action research with a strong track record in professional development. Her enthusiasm for working with teachers in classrooms remains central to her research and professional development activities.

Research highlights include:

  • Love Maths, Why Not? Developing Students' Positive Learning Identities and Enagement in Mathematics
    Year: 2014-2016                                                        Research Partner: ARC Discovery Grant
  • Enhancing Proportional Reasoning Through Innovative Pedagogy
    Year: 2011-2014                                                        Research Partner: ARC Linkage Project

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