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Dr Michele Willsher

Academic Support Advisor

Language and Literacy education; Learning and Teaching in Higher Education; Beginning teacher learning; Indigenous Education; Community development approaches to early childhood and primary education.

  • Name: Dr Michele Willsher
    Position: Academic Support Advisor


    Qualifications: PhD (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), Graduate Diploma of Applied Linguistics (Charles Darwin University), MEd (University of Sydney), Graduate Diploma in Chinese Language (Beijing Teachers University), BEd Hons (Sydney University)

    Professional memberships and associations
    • Australian Teacher Education Association
    • Endeavour Awards Alumni Network (EAAN)
    • NT Department of Education Languages Stakeholder Reference Group
    • Darwin High School School Council


    After graduating from the University of Sydney in 1982, Michele Willsher worked for 4 years as a teacher in a remote NT Indigenous community. In 1986 she furthered her interest in teaching by working in north-west China.

    Chinese language studies followed before Michele returned to Australia, working for 8 years as a Senior Lecturer in teacher education at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

    From 2001 to 2008 Michele worked overseas again, this time mainly in Laos, on large-scale teacher education projects.

    In 2009 Michele undertook ethnographic fieldwork in village schools in Laos, culminating in a PhD from RMIT University for her study of beginning teachers.

    In 2013, Michele mentored VET trainers delivering Early Childhood Education programs to Indigenous people living in rural and remote communities. Since 2014, she has taught Indigenous students enrolled in the Bachelor of Education Program. Dr Willsher has undertaken research projects both locally and internationally in the areas of:
    • Early Childhood Education in Indigenous Communities in the NT;
    • Pre-Service Teacher Education in China and Lao PDR;
    • Beginning Teacher Learning in Lao PDR;
    • Professional Development Programs for Teachers.
    Michele is particularly interested in conducting research in how best to support beginning teachers as they embark on their professional pathways.


    • 2010 Endeavour Research Fellow Award
    • 2014 Charles Darwin University Staff Award


    2015 – Present Batchelor Institute: Academic Support Advisor
    2014 – 2015 Batchelor Institute: Lecturer Teacher Education
    2013 – 2014 Batchelor Institute: Project Manager – Building the Remote Early Childhood Workforce Project
    2009 – 2013 Student at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne (PhD)
    2003 – 2009 Education Consultant – Lao PDR
    2002 – 2003 Education Consultant – China
    2001 – 2002 Melbourne University – Hanoi: English Teacher
    1998 – 2001 Batchelor Institute: Lecturer Teacher Education
    1997 – 1998 Macquarie University – Hanoi: Language Teacher/Manager
    1993 – 1996 Batchelor Institute: Lecturer Teacher Education
    1991 – 1993 Union Aid Abroad: Project Manager - Cambodia, Vietnam
    1990 – 1991 Student at Sydney University (Master of Education)
    1988 – 1989 QiQihar Institute, Heilongjiang Province China – English Teacher
    1983 – 1987 NT Department of Education, Lajamanu Bilingual School - Teacher
  • Oldfield, J. & Willsher, M (2017). Aboriginal Worlds in the Western Academy. In S. Shore (Ed) Traders Neighbours and Intruders: Points of Contact. E-proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Australian Council for Adult Literacy. 13-14 September 2017, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin, NT. Australian Council for Adult Literacy Inc. and Charles Darwin University: Canberra, ACT & Darwin, NT.
    Willsher, M & Phommachanh, S (2016). Beginning teacher experiences in Lao PDR: From research to the development of a professional development program. Learning Communities. International Journal of LearnIng In SocIal Contexts. No 20. pp. 60-70. Charles Darwin University and the Northern Institute. Darwin. NT.
    Olcay, M, Fasoli, L & Willsher, M (2015). The learning is always going both ways: early childhood education action research with remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. In Huijser, H., Ober, R., O’Sullivan, S. McRae-Williams, E & Elvin, R. (Ed.), Finding Common Ground: Narratives, Provocations and Reflections from the 40 year Celebration of Batchelor Institute (pp.111-118). Batchelor Press. Batchelor NT.
    Willsher, M (2013). Learning to Teach in Lao PDR. Melbourne: RMIT University. (Unpublished thesis)
    Willsher, M (2010). Schooling New Teachers: On Professional Support to New Teachers in Laos. (p.161-162) (Eds. in) Endeavours Of Excellence: 60 Years of Australian Scholarship in South and South East Asia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
    Willsher, M (2008). Laos: Mapping the state of in-service training for primary school teachers in Lao PDR. Vientiane: UNICEF.
    Willsher, M. (2007). A Review of Technical and Vocational Education in the Asia/Pacific Region. Sydney: Australian People for Health Education and Development Abroad.
    Willsher, M (2005). Active Learning: An in-service program for primary school teachers in Lao PDR. Vientiane: Ministry of Education, Lao PDR.
    Willsher, M (2000). Evaluation of the Galiwin’ku Child Care Service. Darwin: Commonwealth Department of Family Services.
    Willsher, M & McClay, D (1999). Talking Early Childhood: A Resource Book for Children Services. Batchelor: Batchelor Press.
    Willsher, M (1998). Evaluation of the Yuendumu Child Care Service. Darwin: Commonwealth Department of Family Services.
    Willsher, M (1998). Toy Making in the Top End Video. Batchelor: Batchelor Press.
    Willsher, M (1998). Talking Early Childhood: A Resource Video. Batchelor: Batchelor Press.
    Willsher, M & Clarke, M (1995). Talking Early Childhood: A review of Early Childhood Services in the Northern Territory. Batchelor: Batchelor Press.