Majors and Minors in the College of Arts and Education – Disability Studies

Majors and Minors in the College of Arts and Education – Disability Studies

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My name’s Belinda Webb and I’m a special
education teacher and I work with students with disabilities.
I also work in the disability specialisation here at Victoria
University and teaching pre-service teachers about working with students
with disabilities. This course is offered to P-12 Bachelor of education
students from Year 2, and they can undertake a
disability specialisation and undertake five core units within my subject as
well as a range of other practical aspects. So lots of hands-on experiences
within schools practical placements in within special schools lots of
experience and hands-on activities that they’ll use within their classrooms
particularly when working with students with disabilities. A lot of students come
in and they don’t really know anything about disability, some students have
never ever met a person with a disability, so we start really gently and
we work into understanding about disability and understanding students
and people with disabilities and what that might mean for them; and then being
able to relate that to how they can teach those students in their classrooms
and how they might work with them. Students will learn a range of skills
during this major they will be able to understand how to support all learners
within the classroom as well as identifying diverse needs within the
classroom and particular impairments and disabilities that might present. They’ll
be able to explore different aspects of disability and learn a little bit about
them being able to identify the strengths and the challenges that people
with disabilities face and then how to use them in the classroom and how to use
them to their abilities. They also learn things on assessment reporting and being
able to plan effective lessons and engaging hands on material in terms of
supporting students visit with their physiological and emotional needs as
well. Students will engage in a whole range of activities that are really
practical and hands-on and I think that’s probably one of the
highlights and one of the things that the students report back on as being
something that they’ve really grown from, being able to try new things and be able
to implement new tools and strategies, in particular ways of communicating with
students with disabilities, ways of being able to support students or think
differently about how they might plan for those students within the classroom,
through to engaging with families and working and supporting families of
students with disabilities. The one most important thing that they get out of
this unit is that understanding that inclusion is about all students and that
understanding of supporting student’s ability rather than their disability and
working out how important that is to their learning and development.

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