Alumni profile

Carmel Lawrence

Bachelor of Education, La Trobe, 1985

Works with Indigenous children in the Northern Territory

Carmel Lawrence works with Indigenous children in the Northern Territory. 

She holds a Bachelor of Education from La Trobe, and is a member of the Class of 1985.

Carmel's career is largely unique to any other La Trobe alumnus. She was inspired to teach in remote communities when realising that the threat to Indigenous language is "colossal".

“I wanted to teach in a remote community to be part of [Indigenous children's] empowerment," Carmel said. 

“[I] worked initially in a remote community with kids who spoke English as their second language. From there I moved into an urban Darwin school where we had many, many students from South-East Asia.

"The combination with remote-area kids whose first language is an Indigenous language and those kids ... who had come by boat to Darwin, really confirmed what I wanted to do, which was ESL (English as a Second Language)."

Carmel said the study she did at La Trobe has been "integral" to the work she has done in Indigenous communities.

“The impact of La Trobe was how much I learned the importance of techniques and strategies and understanding of teaching English as a second language," she said.

"And, of course, to do that, there’s got to be strong acknowledgement of the first language of those students.

“Here now, there would be great cultural and linguistic diversity among the lecturers, all of the staff and the students. 

"What would be lovely is if we had mainstream Australians wanting to study language, wanting to become teachers of language and culture."

Education and teaching

Last updated: 9th April 2019