1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability
Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disabilities.
6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice
Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.
As part of my Masters in Secondary Education, I undertook a subject called Inclusive Education: Students with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities. Throughout this subject I researched and developed my understanding of teaching strategies that can be used to engage students with a variety of learning difficulties in the classroom. In my final assessment for this subject I produced a thoroughly researched paper that profiled three students and identified specific teaching strategies for their unique learning difficulty.
In formulating my student profiles, I drew on my practicum experience. During my practicum I worked with an autistic student in one of my classes. The autistic student in my class was sporadically in attendance and when he was present, engaged only with the games on his laptop. Wanting to engage him, I attended a PD event, hosted by the schools Learning Support and Enrichment Coordinator, which focused on engaging students with autism in the classroom. Although this was very informative, strategies will not be effective unless adapted the specific needs of a student, as no child with autism is akin to another (Dunlap et al., 2008). Thus, I followed this up by speaking directly to the Coordinator about the specific student in my class. Through this collegial discussion, I learnt that the student in my English class loved sci-fi and has, in the past, written his own short stories. From this, we spent an afternoon discussing specific teaching strategies to engage this student in the English classroom. Unfortunately this particular student did not attend school for the remainder of my practicum so I could not implement the strategies I had worked through. This was reflected in my Supervising Teacher’s report.
Despite being unable to put these strategies into practice, I used them to direct my research for this assessment. In relation to Autism, I explored a structured TEACCH approach that outlines a variety of factors that result in an Autism friendly classroom (Mesibov & Howley, 2003). These factors include schedules, structured lessons and specific work systems or to-do lists. The paper also outlines specific strategies for Anxiety disorder and dyslexia.
The class average for this assessment was a mid-range Credit. I received a High Distinction with my tutor commenting on my ‘sensational lesson plans’, my knowledge of legislation and my understanding of the needs and strategies of specific students. These comments and my above average grade display that I have developed a thorough and broad understanding of legislation and teaching strategies associated with the learning of students with disabilities. Beyond this, my Supervising Teacher’s comments highlight my eagerness to seek constructive feedback from other educators to improve my teaching.
The full paper and marking criteria is attached for reference.