Dr Loraine McKay is a consistent achiever, with strong guiding values in social justice and equity, who has created an international profile as a researcher in the fields of pre-service teacher identify development. Her work incorporates well-being, resilient-engagement, self-efficacy and agency to prepare teacher for the rigours of the professional world. 

Inclusive education has been a core focus of Loraine’s 25+ year teaching career, where she was a primary school teacher before coming to Griffith as a full time academic in 2013. Loraine pursued her interest and expertise in inclusive education throughout her Doctorate, where, after mentoring many early career teachers, realised this was an area of need. 

Associate Professor Barrie O’Connor, the first mentor of her career – encouraged Loraine into higher degree studies. Her thesis investigated the sociocultural influences on pre service/beginning teachers’ perceptions of teaching students with learning difficulties. 

Loraine says: 

“What I found was one of the things that makes inclusive education so difficult, is the institutional constraints and barriers, and teacher’s mindsets. One of the things that burns teachers out is responding to the needs of diverse learners in their classroom and also the frustration that goes with working in that space.” 

More recently her work has focused on preparing preservice teachers who understand the emotionality of teaching and who are willing to take on the challenge to push back on institutional barriers. Understanding self-care through critical reflection is an important part of this identity work. 

On her work, Loraine says: 

“I’ve continued to do a lot of projects with pre-service teachers. Looking at the barriers they face, and how to overcome those, understanding and solving these issues, led me to using arts-based reflection activities, such as collage and photo elicitation in this space, focusing on teacher identify development.” 

Loraine’s consistent but quiet achievements have not gone unnoticed and recently she was invited to speak as a keynote for the “English Studies at the Interface of Disciplines: Research and Practice Conference” in Macedonia, where she spoke about “Exploring the contribution of arts-based reflection in developing teacher identity”. 

She is committed to the idea that we develop and build transformative teachers, who will improve the educational outcomes and opportunities that all students deserve. Developing agency, resilience, wellbeing and self-efficacy helps teachers navigate the realities of teaching and responding to kids with diverse needs. 

To see more of Loraine’s fascinating and important work, please see her Griffith experts page and below:  

Using arts-based reflection to explore preservice teacher identity development and its reciprocity with resilience and well-being during the second year of university 


Supporting intentional reflection through collage to explore self-care in identity work during initial teacher education