Inclusive education stalwart honoured with Australia Day award

Inclusive education stalwart honoured with Australia Day award
Brendan Rees

CBD resident Lorraine Graham, a professor of learning intervention at The University of Melbourne, says she is surprised and delighted to have been acknowledged with an Australia Day award.

Prof. Graham was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her “significant service to education, particularly in the field of inclusive learning”.

It’s an honour she said she didn’t expect but was immensely proud and humbled.

“I was walking up Swanston St when the email from the Governor General arrived. I stopped stock still and affected the flow of foot traffic. I didn’t think it was real,” Prof. Graham, a CBD resident of almost nine years, said.

“It means a number of people who know of my work have written in support of my nomination. It is particularly exciting to be on the award list with my long-time collaborator and friend, Jeanette Berman. Jeanette was also a CBD resident when she was based at The University of Melbourne Parkville campus.”

Asked why she was passionate about the work she does, Prof. Graham said, “inclusive education is a priority around the world and rightly so”.

“At its heart, inclusive practice means that diversity is respected and as far as possible all students get what they need from their schooling,” she said.

 

Effective teaching of all students, including those who may struggle and those who are very able, is built on teacher capability, responsive school leadership, and relevant professional learning. It’s about ‘learning for all, teaching that matters and learning that lasts’.

 

Among her career highlights is Prof.  Graham’s current role with The Learning Intervention Academic Group at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, which has recently developed an “impactful” Graduate Certificate of Education (Learning Difficulties).

“This course was co-created with the Victorian Department of Education and Training as part of the Disability Inclusion reform agenda and is geared towards equipping teachers to address the most prevalent types of learning difficulties and build skills to influence change in their schools,” she said.

Before joining The University of Melbourne in 2014, Prof. Graham was at the University of New England where she co-developed QuickSmart, an evidence-based basic skills intervention program for middle-school students who experience persistent difficulties in literacy and/or numeracy.

Since 2017, Prof. Graham and her colleagues, Jeanette Berman, Anne Bellert and Lisa McKay-Brown, have been working with ALATA Inclusion (based in Ecuador and Melbourne) on a large-scale project together called, Inclusive Education and Sustainable Learning.

The project was interrupted by the pandemic, but she intends to travel back to Latin America in March to revisit their connections.

Throughout her distinguished career, Prof. Graham has authored/co-authored an impressive 120 academic published works – with her next book, Responsive Teaching of Sustainable Learning: A Framework for Inclusive Education, set to be published by Routledge this year.

“In this book, Jeanette Berman, Anne Bellert, Lisa McKay-Brown and I have tried to unpack ‘how’ to teach in inclusive classrooms. This book presents frameworks that can guide and develop inclusive teacher practice at class, group, and individual levels in a wide range of settings,” she said.

“We want this book to be useful to the instructional work of teachers and of practical value to educational leaders.” •

 

Caption: Professor Lorraine Graham.

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