Meet the School of Education’s postgraduates and alumni

Our postgraduates are researching with the best and benefitting from the School’s industry connections and expertise

The School of Education leads innovative research programs in language and literacy, Early Childhood education and adult education.

Our postgraduates are researching with the best and benefitting from the School’s industry connections and expertise.

Our School is home to over 60 higher degree by research students.

Meet two of our PhD candidates Ayesha Khalid and Stevie Brown, and alumni Dr Aimé Sacrez.

Ayesha Khalid is a first-year PhD candidate at our Bundoora campus.

“I was attracted to La Trobe’s School of Education because of its reputation in research. I believe in the transformative role that education plays in our lives and my PhD gives me the opportunity to learn more about it.

I am investigating the concept of citizenship education in Australia and Pakistan. Also known as civics education, this provides school children with the knowledge and skills to become active and informed citizens. Both countries have a colonial past and a history of subjugating ethnic, religious and gendered minorities that do not conform to the dominant idea of citizenship. Using post-colonial theory, my thesis will explore how citizenship education policies underpin and inform conversations around race, culture and gender in both countries.

I believe a PhD is part of my career as a life-long learner. I have conducted research in the field of citizenship education and public policy for the last five years and I continue to see it from a new perspective every day.

I hope my findings will inform policy makers in Pakistan and Australia, and encourage them to revisit citizenship education and its place in the global world.”

Dr Aimé Sacrez has recently completed his PhD at our Bendigo campus.

“I have lived in Bendigo for 12 years and I love the city. I was working as a gymnastics coach and, when my child was born, I became interested in how children develop and learn. So, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Primary Education, which led to Honors and a PhD.

My thesis examined the contribution of Victorian Tech Schools in supporting Secondary schools to develop interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics (STEAM) programs.

Tech Schools provide an excellent example of how we can match schools, with local industries and community groups, to create authentic learning experiences for students. I evaluated the role of Tech Schools as mediating organisations for the development of projects between schools, industry and community. I am currently working with the Bendigo Tech School, based at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus, on local programs and pathways for young people.

My pathway to academia has involved a transition from coaching, to teaching, and then research. Being a parent, a teacher and a researcher has provided me with different perspectives on education and its role in society. I hope to become a writer on the philosophy and sociology of education.”

Stevie Browne is a third-year PhD candidate at our Bundoora campus.

“I graduated with a Bachelor of Education as part of the National Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools program, and then a Master of Education. I moved to La Trobe to undertake a PhD.

My thesis focuses on school teachers who have had adverse childhood experiences, their lived experiences at school and home, and how this impacts their classroom roles. In Australia, around 2.5 million adults have experienced childhood adversity, including unstable housing, poverty and family violence. Most stories of school teachers omit these experiences, which are quite common in the population.

In my research, I have surveyed and interviewed teachers, listening to their stories of adversity. Their stories represent the voices of teachers who are seldom heard, and show how their experiences inform their work with young people from similar backgrounds.

Teachers from these backgrounds can be powerful advocates for students experiencing adversity. I hope that my findings will help break down harmful stereotypes about disengaged or ‘disruptive’ students, and shed light on who teachers are, who they can be, and who can be a teacher.”

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