A dual perspective

Issue: Volume 95, Number 9

Posted: 23 May 2016
Reference #: 1H9d2A

Applications for the Special Education Study Awards for 2017 studies open on 1 August 2016. Education Gazette talks to Saul Taylor about his recent study journey.

Special Education Study Awards support and encourage teachers to develop their skills in working with students with additional learning needs.

Sauls’s Story

With the help of a Special Education Study Award, Saul Taylor recently graduated from Massey University with a Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching with the endorsement Blind and Low Vision.

He is now a qualified Resource Teacher Vision (RTV) who works with students of all ages who are blind, deafblind, or have low vision. Before undertaking the study, he worked as a teacher of the Deaf.

Saul says it’s a privilege to join what is perhaps only a small number of people in the country who are dual-qualified in both sensory sectors.  

An enhanced understanding of 'teamwork'

The Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching is delivered in a partnership between Massey University and the University of Canterbury and offers seven endorsement areas for training, with a focus on inter-professional work. 

These areas are:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Blind and Low Vision
  • Complex Educational Needs
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Early Intervention
  • Gifted and Talented
  • Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour

“I found myself studying alongside fellow practitioners who are in different endorsements and yet share that common bond of being teachers in Aotearoa,” says Saul.

“For me it made some significant changes to my practice and way of thinking.”

Saul appreciates the diversity and wide range of experiences brought by his peers.

 “In my job I work alongside a wide range of specialists and I believe my study has helped me understand what it means to be part of a professional network where we value each person’s contribution to a student’s school experience."

“As a result, I think people who come through this study have an enhanced understanding of what collaborative teamwork is.”

From night school to specialist

Saul says he has been interested in sensory education for nearly 20 years.

As a young adult in the UK, he attended night school to learn sign language, then went on to earn a degree in English before completing postgraduate teacher training.

Before emigrating to New Zealand, Saul undertook specialist teacher training in Deaf education.

“While working as a teacher of the Deaf in New Zealand, I undertook my Masters in Educational Leadership and Management, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Increasingly, I found myself working with students who were deaf or hard of hearing and blind or low vision, and this sparked a new interest for me."

“This latest undertaking, to become a Resource Teacher Vision working with blind, deafblind and low vision students, is perhaps the culmination of my journey to becoming a dual sensory specialist who understands both sides of the sensory coin.”

Getting stuck in

Saul is looking forward to putting his learning into practice.

“I’m keen to get to know the role of a Resource Teacher Vision and do it to the best of my ability. With the dual sensory background I am also keen to extend my expertise with these particular students,” he says.

“I have noticed the Ministry of Education has invested in recent years in constructing sensory resource hubs in key areas of the North Island, housing specialists in both deaf and blind education under one roof. I think this is a very exciting environment to be part of, and see a lot of opportunity for collaborative learning."

“After graduating from the specialist teaching programme, I am still involved as an alumni presenting at block courses and supporting the new student’s digital learning."

“I’ve got another 30 years to go in the education sector, but for now though I’m thrilled to be working with students every day and learning the role.”

2017 round

The Special Education Study Awards for 2017 are:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Study Award
  • Blind and Low Vision Study Award
  • Complex Educational Needs Study Award
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Study Award
  • Early Intervention Study Award
  • Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Study Award
  • Specialist Teaching Study Award
  • Child and Family Psychology Internship Scholarship
  • Educational Psychology Internship Scholarship
  • Educational Psychology Masters Scholarship
  • Sign Language Interpreting Scholarship
  • Speech Language Therapy Scholarship
  • New Zealand Sign Language Tutor Scholarship

Visit www.education.govt.nz/r/sestudyawards(external link) to learn more about each award and to apply.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 6:15 pm, 23 May 2016

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