Since graduating from the Master of Teaching back in 2011, Lucienne has embarked on a rewarding career in humanitarian work. Currently managing projects in Lebanon and Syria, she credits the Master of Teaching with laying the foundations to her education work. She has recently been awarded the Education Alumni Award 2020.
Q: Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?
I attended Macleod College in Melbourne’s north for my high school and VCE. My undergraduate studies took place at Deakin University, Burwood Campus, where I studied International Studies with majors in International Relations and Asian/Middle Eastern Studies. I then went on to complete my Honors year at the Australian National University in Canberra, studying at the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies.
Q: Why did you choose to study at the Faculty of Education?
I studied the Master of Teaching via the first cohort of the Teach for Australia programme between 2009-2011. The programme was pre-determined under the Teach for Australia programme, but I was delighted to be able to join the Faculty of Education.
Q: Did you enjoy studying at the Faculty of Education?
The Faculty of Education was an eye opening experience. The university staff were first class, supportive, experienced and knowledgeable in their field. I felt the academic staff had a strong appreciation for the reality of teaching practice, were concerned to ensure their course content was relevant and practical and deeply cared about their students.
Q: What was the most valuable/rewarding aspect of the Master of Teaching?
I think knowing that I was being taught by experts in their field, who understood not only academically but also practically what their course was required to do – i.e. prepare me to be an effective and capable teacher, was incredibly valuable.
Q: What interested you most about the area you studied? How do you apply it in your current role?
I work in humanitarian/development programming in the education sector, namely Education in Emergencies programming throughout the Middle East, with a mix of UN and NGO actors. In my current role I am required to support technically in the development of education programmes, supporting formal education and non-formal education, develop curricula and teacher training packages for qualified and unqualified educationalists, and work with education ministries, education professionals and national and international NGO actors to support the continued provision of education for vulnerable young people – including refugees and internally displaced persons. My pedagogical knowledge, learnt from the Masters programme is applied in a majority of the technical components of my job.
Q: Since graduating, where has your career taken you?
I currently manage a number of large projects in Lebanon and Syria. In Syria I manage a large project with local/national implementing partner to implement non-formal education programmes for children in Syria (a large number of internally displaced children) across 3 locations in the country. I am responsible for the implementation and management of the project, liaison between donors and implementing partner, financial and narrative reporting etc. I am also the key technical focal point for the education and psychosocial support programme, meaning that I support in ensuring the content and quality of the curricula, training of staff and personnel and development and refinement of measurements for academic and wellbeing indicators for children and staff. I am also responsible for liaising with the education sector in the country and ensuring alignment with international standards for education in emergencies programming.
In Lebanon, the project I manage is responsible for having developed and piloted a pedagogical model designed to enhance teaching quality, through the specific pedagogical model (that draws on findings from the Colombia Teachers College in the U.S.A) and a continuous coaching methodology for education personnel. The current 3 year phase of the project will seek to engage impact research on the model to assess the effect of the model on teacher and student academic and wellbeing indicators, and to verify the model through implementation in select public schools within Lebanon’s public education sector. The project further seeks to develop supportive policy and programming instruments to facilitate scaling of the model throughout he country as well as mainstreaming of the pedagogical approach throughout the country.
Q: How has your degree has contributed to your career development?
The Masters of Teaching has supported my entry to the work of education, first as a teacher but also in laying the foundations of understanding to support within the public sector in Victoria (Departments of Education and Premier and Cabinet) but also later, as the foundation for my ability to contribute to education programming abroad in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?
I hope to continue to contribute to international education issues and ideally supporting education for those affected by conflict and crises around the world. In the immediate term, it is likely that I will return to Australia for some time, where I hope to engage further in the education sector to learn further best practice models and approaches from the Australian context. From there I hope to take this understanding back to the international sphere and incorporate into programming in the future.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about pursuing a career in your field?
Obtain as much experience from Australia as you can, and learn the best practice approaches and methodologies well to be able to take this with you into other realms. Speak to those in the roles and ask them what is the most important things to know and understand about the international humanitarian and development sectors, read them, understand them and be confident in your technical/pedagogical knowledge gained from Australian experiences. Be open to learning alternative ways of doing things. Remain efficient and eager to learn.
Q: What would you say to students who are thinking about studying your program at The University of Melbourne?
Go for it – it’s worth delving into anything that expands your horizons, provides a valuable skill set, and establishes networks with capable, passionate people.