A chance for teachers to upskill and make music accessible to students with disabilities
A new course at the University of Melbourne will help equip music teachers with the skills to work with students with special needs and ensure they have equal access to a quality music education.
Australia has some 11,000 music teachers but just a small number advertise themselves as being open to teaching students with disabilities.
The University of Melbourne’s Specialist Certificate in Inclusive Music Teaching will help address this skill gap and boost teacher numbers working with special needs students. Running over two semesters, the part-time course will provide teachers with the confidence needed to teach students who have intellectual disabilities or are on the autism spectrum.
The curriculum will cover both theory and practical methods for creating a more inclusive music education – a key part of which involves tailoring teaching approaches to each student.
Dr Grace Thompson, music therapist and senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, who will lead the teaching team, said the course is ideal for those teaching one-on-one or small groups. “When supporting teachers, I want them to understand how people on the autism spectrum [and with learning differences] learn best,” she said.
“They need to understand how to keep the environment low-stress, to help students to focus their attention, and to consider using more visual resources. It’s also important to think about the way they are structuring material for students with disabilities. For example, for some students, beginning with technique and scales is not necessarily a helpful starting point.”
Course participants will learn how to develop and deliver inclusive learning plans.
Dr Thompson said there is “a real societal benefit in having music teachers ready and willing to take on diverse students. Those kids and young people have a right to learn music – I don’t think it’s acceptable for them to be locked out of music education. And, graduates of the course will likely find they are able to offer something really distinct in the market.”
Dr Thompson said the expertise and confidence gained from the course would be an enormous boost to teacher’s employability.
- The Specialist Certificate in Inclusive Music Teaching at the University of Melbourne starts in July 2020. Find out more.
- An information session about the Specialist Certificate in Inclusive Music Teaching will take place on Thursday 5 December from 7.30pm at Kenneth Myer Auditorium, The Ian Potter Southbank Centre, Sturt Street, South Melbourne. RSVP to Dr Grace Thompson.