Fill a gap in the education sector with further study

Become an expert in your field and contribute to the ever-growing education industry.

The most powerful indicator of a successful teacher is their students’ performance in the classroom. But as the education sector continues to grow, student and classroom needs evolve.

Pursuing further study as an already-qualified teacher provides an opportunity to develop new skills and professional practices in the workplace. Here are three areas of study which will give you the opportunity to offer more in the classroom.

Positive education

Schools play a vital role in helping youth develop cognitive, social and emotional skills. With research suggesting 25 per cent of young people aged 15 to 19 years have a mental disorder, and one in three experience moderate to high levels of psychological distress, a focus on wellbeing in schools is crucial. This has sparked the need for a new education model – one that focuses on a child’s emotional wellbeing and social capabilities just as much as their academic abilities.

Derived from positive psychology, which features decision-making, coping and problem-solving skills, as well as creative brainstorming to promote student safety and wellbeing, positive education can improve mental health, reduce depression, and increase academic success.

Positive education stems from American psychologist Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, which identifies the five aspects essential for wellbeing – positive emotion (P), engagement (E), relationships (R), meaning (M) and achievement (A). It is based on the principle that nurturing the skills and mindsets that encourage positive emotions, relationships and character strengths will likely result in learning and academic success.

Studying a postgraduate course that focuses on this method can allow educators to make a positive impact in the classroom by teaching students vital life skills such as resilience, growth mindset and mindfulness.

Evidence-based teaching

The use of evidence in teaching is firmly engrained in the education sector. A report by the ACT Department of Education and Training suggests Australian schools are highly engaged and committed to the collection, analysis and interpretation of information about students to help inform teaching and learning.

Evidence-based teaching is crucial for successful outcomes in the classroom. It involves using assessments to gather evidence and draw conclusions about where students are in their learning journey, which then allows educators to decide on an appropriate strategy to meet their needs and observe their development to assess teaching efficiency.

Successful teaching is a result of professional experience and thorough, methodical research, so evidence of effective teaching strategies is another powerful form of developing student learning. This could include investigating the strategies that are likely to improve a student’s level of understanding or the intervention techniques that have been previously successful in practice.

Studying a postgraduate course that focuses on evidence-based learning can provide educators with a specific set of skills in student assessment and observation, which will help improve the quality and effectiveness of their teaching.

Special needs education

According to the Australian Autism Alliance, those with autism experience poorer social and economic outcomes than any other disability, particularly in education. Only 29 per cent of Australians feel they have a good understanding of how to support autistic people, and few changes are made to support their needs – only 3 per cent of post-secondary education settings and 19.4 per cent of schools make adjustments.

Most children with special needs attend local schools rather than specialist institutes, however teachers are not given the necessary additional training to provide the best student outcomes. Studying a postgraduate course that focuses specifically on special needs can give teachers an understanding of the student’s strengths and requirements, as well as the strategies that can help improve their learning experience. Most of all, there’s an opportunity to fill a gap in an industry that needs the most support.

Choosing to pursue further study in today’s rapidly evolving education sector will equip teachers with skills that are important now and in the future. More importantly, it provides them with the opportunity to improve their teaching methods, implement new strategies and interventions, and make a real difference in the classroom.

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