Specialist teachers are in increasing demand, according to expert Phil Doecke. In almost every Victorian classroom is a child with some form of disability.
The Bachelor of Education (Primary Education and Disability Studies) program manager’s research in special education has helped reshape the RMIT degree to ensure it prepares education students for new demands in the teaching sector.
We speak to him to learn more about the importance of this qualification and the impact it can make in classrooms.
What will aspiring teachers get out of the Bachelor of Education (Primary and Disability Studies)?
Speaking broadly, this program prepares specialist teachers to teach in either mainstream or special schools.
Our graduates are equipped with the professional skills that allow them to work with children who have additional or special learning needs.
Why is it so important for future teachers to have an Education and Disabilities Studies specialisation?
In almost every Victorian classroom there is a child with some form of disability. This means that right now there is a huge need for future teachers to have a Disabilities Studies specialisation.
The Victorian and Australian Government, the Department of Education and Training and the Victorian Institute of Teaching now require that teachers provide skills and evidence of training when it comes to teaching children with special needs.
Inclusive classrooms, where the learning needs of every single child are respected and understood, are essential.
Students who specialise in Education and Disability Studies will be able to identify what children’s learning needs are and determine how they can meet them.
What is the job of an inclusive classroom teacher?
The job of an inclusive classroom teacher is to identify ways to ensure every child learns successfully. Every child is unique and there is never a ‘one size fits all’ formula.
Teachers may need to take diverse approaches and will often work with the student and their parents to develop these methods.
What is the demand for an Education and Disabilities Studies specialisation?
There is a huge demand across Victoria for trained specialist teachers, especially because it will be many years before special schools are fully staffed with teachers trained in the specialisation.
There is also the added expectation that all teachers in schools meet special needs requirements.
Where do teachers with this qualification work?
The beauty of this qualification is that graduates of this program and specialisation can work in any area of education.
In recent years, most graduates have been employed in special schools, but many are quickly employed in mainstream schools now.
This is because principals are recognising the importance of having teaching staff with a special learning needs specialisation.
Story: Courtney Johnson