E-news Issue 7
Wednesday, 08 September 2021
Charles Darwin University
Cathy Mulhall (right) with her students.
Cathy Mulhall (right) with her students.

Katherine VET Lecturer recognised for passion for early childhood education

Based at Charles Darwin University (CDU)’s Katherine Campus, Vocational Education and Training (VET) Lecturer Cathy Mulhall has been training in-demand early childhood educators for the Northern Territory for years.

After years of hard work, Ms Mulhall is being recognised by being named a finalist for the Trainer of the Year category in the Northern Territory Training Awards 2021.

Ms Mulhall attributes the achievement to her dedication to creating a positive student experience.

“The most important thing to me as a lecturer is the student experience. I always try to ensure it is as positive as possible,” Ms Mulhall said.

“That includes acknowledging emails and requests for help as soon as I receive them, marking work submitted as quickly as possible and touching base regularly with them, ensuring learning materials and assessments are relevant and expectations are easily understood by students,” she said.

Having been teaching at CDU since 2014, Ms Mulhall has taught a broad range of students wanting to gain a new qualification and break through their career.

“I have worked with many students from different communities and with different life experiences. One of my key approaches is changing my ways of teaching to suit the student,” she said.

“Even though you can’t change what the materials are, you can change the way you assess students. When I’m working with community students, I quite often use oral assessments.”

Doing this requires understanding different cultures and embedding that knowledge into the teaching approach.

“I always make it a priority to understand the students and get to know each other. I think I can help them learn much better by building relationships before I actually teach them,” Ms Mulhall said.

Before joining CDU, she most recently worked for Early Childhood Australia’s Inclusion Branch, helping children with disabilities, special needs and culturally diverse backgrounds feel included.  

“My teaching philosophy is understanding what the students’ strengths are and build on them. I focus my teaching in the direction of their strength and cater to what they need to learn,” she said.