Special and Inclusive Education

Bachelor of Special Education (Primary)/Bachelor of Disability Studies

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.

Albert Einstein

This undergraduate degree has a strong focus on special and inclusive education, which is about the provision of quality educational services to students with additional learning needs. If you intend to become a teacher, or you are a qualified teacher motivated to advance your knowledge and skills, our units of study in Special and Inclusive Education will offer you evidence-based strategies for the effective assessment and instruction of students with a diverse range of educational needs. Additionally, your acquired skills will include strategies to assist with classroom management and the handling of challenging behaviours, as well as an understanding of working collaboratively with stakeholders to support the learning of students with additional educational needs. Completing units on Special and Inclusive Education within your teaching degree will allow you to develop advanced investigation and problem solving techniques to address issues related to individuals with additional educational needs.

Our philosophy of teaching and learning

Our units subscribe to two overarching views:

  1. All students are capable of learning.
  2. All students have the right to be educated in the least restrictive environment.

We take a student-centred approach, where the learner is seen to be receiving an education, if they are participating and engaged in their schooling (both academically and socially), achieving success, and are valued for who they are and what they have to contribute.

The Academic Team

Special and Inclusive Education units are developed and offered by the Inclusive Education and Psychology team, who have an inherent interest in the traditions of teaching, learning, and researching in the areas of special and inclusive education. The team members are highly qualified and have experience in the field, with diverse interests across various aspects of special and inclusive education. Team members maintain close involvement with special and inclusive education environments across a variety of settings, including schools and other service providers. This involvement feeds into our research agendas, which in turn informs our teaching. Students studying Special and Inclusive Education units at UNE consistently report high levels of satisfaction with the team’s enthusiasm and expert knowledge in the areas of special and inclusive education. Clicking on the name of the staff member in the table below will provide information on his or her respective publication record and research interests. All staff welcome enquiries about research supervision at Masters or PhD level

Contact information

Dr Ingrid Harrington Senior Lecturer iharring@une.edu.au
+61 2 6773 5968

Program of studies

Special and Inclusive Education units of study – units with an EDSP prefix - are offered at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level for students studying through on-campus and online teaching and learning opportunities.

Our generalist unit on Inclusive and Special Education is a mandatory unit of all pre-service teacher training courses at UNE. For qualified teachers, postgraduate study in special and inclusive education (Master of Education (Primary): Specialisation in Special Education) will increase professional skills, or provide relevant qualifications to move into more specialist areas of school education. In both the undergraduate and the postgraduate courses, students are offered the generous support of the Office for Professional Learning to ensure they will successfully complete the required practicum placements in special and inclusive settings.

For a detailed description of courses and units, visit the Course and Unit Catalogue.

What does this look like for you as a student at UNE?

  • Our units offer learning experiences focused on providing both a theoretical understanding of special and inclusive education, as well as practical strategies for supporting students in today’s diverse classrooms in early, primary and secondary education.
  • Our units entail ongoing assessments that are designed to build your knowledge and understanding of special and inclusive education practice.
  • Our units provide opportunities for social engagement with your peers, as well as with our academic staff, through various online forums and tutorials. Your previous experiences and ideas are appreciated and valued in these spaces, and contribute greatly to the learning of all involved.

What you can expect from us:

  • Current and empirically based knowledge about students with diverse needs and their successful educational support.
  • Relevant and engaging units that utilise the online teaching space on Moodle.
  • Scaffolded learning experiences that build upon your experiences and knowledge.
  • Provision of multiple opportunities to engage with your peers.
  • Provision of opportunities for you to reflect upon your own learning journey through the units.
  • Provision of timely and constructive feedback.
  • Utilisation of your feedback to continue to improve the units we offer in special and inclusive education.

What we expect from you:

  • Engagement with the relevant readings and resources provided each week.
  • Active participation in the forums and other online activities in a respectful manner in accordance with UNE guidelines.
  • Constructive utilisation of the feedback provided to you by your lecturers and peers.
  • Sourcing of appropriate resources from outside the units' materials, using the online resources available from the UNE library.
  • Contact with the lecturer or unit coordinator, if you have any issues or concerns regarding any aspect of the units.

Career Pathways

Our Bachelor of Special Education (Primary)/Bachelor of Disability Studies (currently under review with changes to take effect from 2017) is an opportunity for graduates seeking employment in schools as special education teachers or as educators in the disability field.

Our courses in Special Education can lead you, after graduation, along multiple career pathways in primary education, including:

  • Classroom teacher
  • Learning support teacher
  • Special education teacher

The knowledge and understanding you will gain from completing units in special and inclusive education will provide you with the skills to meet the additional educational needs of learners in the diverse classrooms of Australia in the 21st century.

Important Note: UNE bases its degree structures on the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) guidelines, under the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership framework for teacher registration. It is the responsibility of each student to check his/her eligibility to teach with the relevant state authority (including students who intend to teach in NSW).

Research Pathways

An important dimension of our teaching role in UNE is the provision of quality supervision for research in diverse areas of special and inclusive education. The existing team of scholars would be available to offer mentoring to postgraduate students who wish to undertake a research project in the following areas:

  1. Inclusive education contexts
  2. School leadership and inclusive education
  3. Ethical and moral considerations of inclusive education
  4. Teacher perceptions/attitudes to inclusion
  5. Attributions in young children and the effect on learning
  6. Positive psychology in schools
  7. Interventions by Educational Psychologists in schools
  8. Educational supports for students in the Autistic Spectrum
  9. Theory of mind and language in autism

If you are interested in pursuing research in Special & Inclusive Education, you can enrol in the following postgraduate units or courses, depending on the length of your studies and the depth of your research project:

EDUC396: Special Topics in Education (A)
EDUC597: Research Project in Education (7500 words)
EDUC599A: Education Dissertation (7500 words)
EDUC599B: Education Dissertation (22000 words)

Master of Education (by Research)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)