Dr Ana Garcia-Melgar, Lecturer in Disabilities and Inclusive Education, is helping to shape the next generation of educators.
“I teach subjects in the Inclusive Education specialisation of the Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Early Childhood Education degrees. These subjects focus on how to make learning environments more inclusive and accessible for all students, including those with disabilities and additional needs,” explains Dr Garcia-Melgar.
“All students have the right to be included in general educational settings, and teachers need to know how to create learning environments where all students can participate and learn.”
Connecting the theory to real-life applications is the key to meaningful learning, says Dr Garcia-Melgar.
“I provide opportunities for students to engage in practical learning through the analysis of case studies and contemporary issues in inclusive education. Students find this approach motivating because they can see the direct application of the concepts they are studying.”
“It is also important that preservice teachers have opportunities to practice and hone important skills, like how to collaborate with parents, write individual learning plans and design classroom environments based on Universal Design for Learning principles,” she says.
For Dr Garcia-Melgar, supporting students on their journey to becoming teachers is the best part of her job.
“Being able to contribute to students’ learning and helping them to become inclusive educators is immensely rewarding.”