Building teacher capability for inclusive education

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Background

Establishing Victoria as the Education State includes developing the skills of our teachers and educational leaders to provide an inclusive environment where every student can learn and achieve their full potential.

Evidence shows that the quality of teaching has one of the largest impacts on student learning. Building teaching excellence through pre-service and in-service training is central to making educational settings more inclusive.

As part of the Special Needs Plan, the Government is committed to supporting all teachers in Victoria to engage in professional learning activities to improve the quality of teaching for children and young people with disabilities and additional needs.

Many parents and teachers report that a lack of teacher training in facilitating the learning of students with disabilities is a barrier to individuals being able to succeed in education.

As with all professional learning activities, it is important to stay up-to-date with current thinking and keep building professional expertise as new research and knowledge emerges.

 

The changes and you

The Victorian Institute of Teaching 

The Victorian Institute of Teaching (the Institute) accredits all initial teacher education programs in Victoria and registers all teachers in all schools and early childhood settings. Currently, registered teaching professionals must maintain their professional knowledge and practice to provide learning opportunities for every learner. As part of the Special Needs Plan, all teachers will be required to develop their capability to teach children and young people with disabilities through professional learning activities.

The next generation of teachers

It is imperative that when the next generation of teachers graduate from their initial teacher education programs, they have the knowledge and skills to teach children and young people with disabilities and create inclusive education settings.

From February 2016, initial teacher education programs must include specific learning activities about teaching children and young people with disabilities in order to be accredited by the Institute.

Provisionally registered teachers

New teachers are provisionally registered to provide them with time to demonstrate that they can teach at a Proficient Teacher level. The Institute’s information about gathering evidence of practice to apply for (full) teacher registration or early childhood teacher registration will include specific requirements relating to teaching children and young people with disabilities.

Existing registered teachers

To reflect the importance of all teachers building their capability to teach children and young people with disabilities and create inclusive education settings, teachers will be required to engage in relevant professional learning activities in preparation for the renewal of registration process in September 2016.

Teachers will be required to declare at the 2016 renewal that they have either undertaken relevant professional development in the previous two years or will undertake it prior to renewal of registration in 2017, within the existing 20 hour obligation of standards referenced professional development.

Professional learning opportunities

Appropriate professional learning can take many forms, from formal training and courses through to coaching and mentoring, seminars, workshops, research, observation and practice. These may be undertaken as online learning, programs external to the workplace or delivered and contextualised to the workplace. Professional learning is most effective when it is relevant, collaborative and future focused, and when it supports teachers to reflect on, question and consciously improve their practice.

The Department details the learning and teaching resources already available to support teacher professional learning relevant to teaching students with disabilities. Many of these options are available to all registered teachers in schools and early childhood settings, including casual relief teachers and teachers not currently employed in a school.

To view, see: Learning Diversity Resources

Teachers may also choose to explore other opportunities to meet the requirements, including options available through the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria or relevant Catholic Regional Office or their employer if appropriate, and external organisations and associations offering professional learning activities relevant to children and young people with disabilities.

For an overview of this initiative, including professional learning options offered by the Department, see:

For more information on the requirements for renewal of registration, see: Victorian Institute of Teaching

The Institute will continue to provide further information to teachers in 2016 about this initiative as part of its regular communications. 

Professional learning survey

The Inclusive Education Learning Needs Analysis survey

In recognition of the importance of professional learning the Department conducted a survey to identify teachers' ongoing professional learning needs.

The survey is now closed and the Department wish to thank all teachers (early childhood and school) registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching for participating.