Helping teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to empower their students

Grace Broadbent developed a passion for Auslan (Australian Sign Language) when she was young. With encouragement from her teacher, Grace pursued this passion with a degree to become a Teacher of the Deaf.

As she progressed through her career, her commitment to assist students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing resulted in her undertaking a Master of Instructional Leadership at the University of Melbourne, thanks to the generous support of the Beth MacLaren Smallwood Scholarship.

“As a teacher of the Deaf and particularly working in a school for the Deaf, we are a little bit isolated and we don’t get to see a lot of what happens in mainstream schools. Being able to share different challenges that other teachers and my peers and colleagues were facing meant we could learn a lot from each other.”

MGSE Awards Night 2019
Grace Broadbent and Dr Jim Watterston, Dean, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Grace says education remains the best chance for changing people’s lives and society for the better. Her aim is to develop students’ capacity so they are empowered to make independent and successful life choices.

“Research shows the impact deafness has on a child’s access to education. I think we have a responsibility as educators to do the best that we can in these educational settings to overcome those barriers.”

Grace now works as an Impact Coach for teachers at a school for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. She is passionate about applying the content from the Instructional Leadership course to guide them in their reflection on how they are working with students.

“I work with teachers to reflect on their practice and consider what impact they are having on their students. I wouldn’t be able to do this role as effectively without having done the Master of Instructional Leadership and having that knowledge around leading teachers through that process.”

The Scholarship has supported me to access a course which I would not have considered due to the barrier of cost.

Additionally, it provided motivation to achieve my best and push through the times when it has been difficult to balance full-time work with study, knowing that I have been specifically granted this valuable learning opportunity.

– Grace Broadbent, Master of Instructional Leadership, Beth MacLaren Smallwood Scholarship recipient

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