Help our Educators to lead the Way

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Learning differences affect over 10% of our population and chances are you, or someone you know, may have a learning difference. Many teachers and educators are unaware of how to best support these students. In Australia, there is no nationally recognised compulsory module on learning differences that is studied at all tertiary level teaching courses. This is a letter I wrote to try and have a compulsory module on learning differences introduced into every Teaching Degree and Diploma in Australia. By helping every teacher, we help every student. If you have time, please read my letter and show your support by signing this petition. Thank you.

Dear Honourable Prime Minister, Premier, Ministers, Universities Australia, Australian Council of Deans of Education, Esteemed Educators and Advocates,

My name is Georgia and I write seeking your help. 

Last year I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia in my last year of Primary school. Even though my teachers were all so kind and caring, they struggled in knowing how to help me and understand why I was having so many difficulties. It took several years before I was diagnosed due to my parent’s persistence and determination.

Twelve months later, at that very same school, my sister made a presentation to the whole school about dyslexia, which included a speech, video, posters and a newsletter entry. She is just 10-years old. Because of one person, my primary school went from a school where nobody knew anything about dyslexia to a school where everybody knows.

If one person can make such a change, imagine what a difference could be made if every teacher and educator in Australia was taught about learning differences and how to best help their students. I know that many teaching courses do offer modules on special needs and dyslexia but with more than 10% of the population suffering from dyslexia, it makes sense that teaching courses should all have COMPULSORY core modules dedicated to learning differences for all potential teachers.

The Australian Dyslexia Association (ADA) website on Dyslexia in Australia states “Figures from the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy (NITL) Australia, indicate that half the 34 Bachelor of Education teacher training courses in Australia devoted less than 5% of their four-year curriculum to teaching reading".

That is why I am writing to you today, to ask that you might consider offering a special core module on learning differences that all teachers MUST undertake during their training. Ideally, this would be a collaboration of all learning institutes; government; curriculum and policy advisors and dyslexia and reading experts.

I was so lucky to have so much help and support but I know this isn’t the case for everybody. I believe EVERY child should have the chance to the best education that our “lucky country” can offer and educating the educator is the most powerful tool in preventing so many students from slipping through the cracks and preventing lifelong self-esteem issues.

Pam Allyn said "Reading is breathing in and writing is breathing out”. Introducing a compulsory module in all teaching courses will be a giant step in helping us students that have struggled to “breathe again”.

I know that teaching is the one occupation that has the potential to change the world. With your help we can change the world for every student that may be struggling.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.