LORRAINE Hammond’s influence stretches far across WA’s education network.
The Mt Pleasant resident and Edith Cowan University School of Education associate professor was today appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours for her services to education.
Dr Hammond is responsible for teaching the next generation of teachers at Edith Cowan University but her activities do not stop there.
She is the president of Learning Difficulties Australia and is also involved in the Department of Education’s Kimberley Schools Project.
Her passion for helping children to read began when she was working as a high school English teacher in the Mid West.
“I met lots of students who couldn’t read and I thought that was terrible,” she said.
“They had 10,000 hours of primary school and they couldn’t read.
“Because I was a precocious reader I assumed they weren’t trying hard enough.
“I came back to the city and I enrolled in my first postgraduate award, which was in specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
That rolled into a Masters, a PhD, a dissertation about beginning reading and spelling and then involvement in the Dyslexia SPELD Foundation.
Dr Hammond said it made her happy to see teachers she had taught succeed in the industry.
“It’s enormous power and great responsibility and I think what I’ve prided myself on is the fact that I produce exemplary teachers,” she said.
“The burden of responsibility is great, I need to produce teachers who are job-ready and capable of teaching children how to read.”
Dr Hammond said the Kimberley School’s Project involved 19 schools in locations such as Broome, Derby, Kununurra and remote places and involved helping teachers through professional learning.
“I then do demonstration teaching with children and I also coach teachers on a regular basis, I’m there every two to three weeks for about a week,” she said.
“It’s an amazing privilege to go into communities that many people don’t get to go into and to go and bring about the kind of changes that ultimately are going to close the gap for Indigenous people.”
Dr Hammond said what drove her was improving people to be more than they were.
“I was utterly delighted (to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia), it was completely out of the blue, it’s not something that I necessarily want but it shines a great light on the importance of teaching,” she said.
“It’s a career that is often undervalued in society and it brings positive attention to the not-for-profits that I’m interested in.”