There are 4.5 million Australians with a disability, so why isn’t education for people with disability compulsory in our national teaching training curriculum? A new partnership between Monash University and service provider Wallara is changing how we teach our teachers.
Once a week clients from Wallara near Victoria’s Dandenong take the bus to Monash’s Berwick campus for a literacy and numeracy tutorial with first year teaching students.
The 10-week Keep on Learning program is designed to prepare trainee teachers for working with students with disability when they enter the workforce .
It also gives Ben, one of Walllara’s Keep on Learning participants, access to professional teaching and one on one learning at university.
In Ben’s words: “Awesome!”
“The sense of inclusion its given them has been the most inspiring part of it,” Training Manager Ellen Burns says.
“The fact that they’ve been accepted into an environment they never thought they would be a part of.”
A good education is fundamental to giving young people the best possible chance of fulfilling their dreams, findings jobs and being part of the community.
Wallara CEO Phil Hayes-Brown says education is critical to future employment and social inclusion for people with disability, yet including their needs is not mandatory in teacher training.
Phil’s daughter Phoebe, attends to a special school in Victoria and he says he’s shocked at how hard it is to attract teachers with experience in the needs of students with disability.
He says Keep on Learning is a win for everyone – including Wallara’s staff who now have access to Monash’s teaching resources and knowledge.
“Keep on Learning helps gives teachers starting out a valuable insight into the special needs of students with disability.” Phil says.
“I’m hoping that this program inspires inspire teachers that had never considered special education, or if they still do go out into mainstream teaching thanks to this program they will have the needs of these students at front of mind.”
Long term, the aim is to extend the program beyond Monash to teaching campuses and even health and nursing faculties across the country.
We’ll post Wallara TV’s episode about the Monash program as soon as it’s ready.
Watch this space.