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SPE3003 Teaching Learners with Moderate to High Support Needs

Semester 2, 2019 Online
Short Description: Teach Learners Mod/High Needs
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Education
Student contribution band : National Priority - Teaching
ASCED code : 070113 - Teacher Education: Special Edu
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Tracey Chamlin


Pre-requisite: BEDU (Primary + Special Education) and BEDU (Special Education) students to complete EDC2400 prior to enrolment.

Other requisites

Students enrolling in courses which do not follow the recommended enrolment pattern cannot be assured of a developmental learning experience or program completion within their preferred timeframe.


Regardless of severity, most learners with disability who attend school will attend regular classes in mainstream schools. While representing a relatively small percentage of the school age population, learners with low incidence disabilities and therefore significant support needs can present a major challenge to many educators. Such children require individualised and specialised pedagogical understanding and skills to ensure that they are fully supported to participate, engage, and achieve in appropriate curricula. As Australia endorses inclusive education, learners with significant support needs are often included in regular classrooms. Pre-service teachers need an understanding of the physical, social, and intellectual developmental and learning characteristics of learners with moderate to severe disability, and the professional expertise to work effectively with them. As self-determination and self-advocacy are important qualities for learners with significant support needs, pre-service teachers also need to understand the importance of their role in developing student confidence and ability in these lifelong necessary skills, particularly during educational transition periods.


This course will support pre-service teachers to develop their awareness and understanding of how instruction and environment can influence and improve teaching and learning for learners with moderate to high support needs. Pre-service teachers will be able to articulate the diverse needs of learners with significant support needs and identify appropriate instructional strategies according to individual strengths and challenges. They will develop an understanding and appreciation of underlying theory, and legal obligations, as well as national and state expectations of educators in regards to ensuring the inclusion, participation, engagement, safety, and wellbeing of learners with moderate to severe disability in their classroom whether in special school or inclusive educational environments. Curricular approaches and techniques relevant to the teaching and learning of learners with moderate to high support needs, including the use of ICTs and assistive technologies will be explored. Additionally, an understanding of the different transition times in a learner's educational experience, and support strategies for these times, including the importance of planning and collaboration with relevant stakeholders, particularly parents/carers will be developed.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course in accordance with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership's (AITSL) Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST). On successful completion of this course pre-service teachers should be able to:

  1. identify and describe the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of learners with significant support needs, and the implications of these characteristics for teaching and learning with consideration of the of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of learners with disability (APST 1.1, 1.6)
  2. identify and describe the legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support inclusion, participation and learning for learners with moderate to severe disability, with consideration and understanding of the need to also support learner wellbeing and safety (APST 1.6, 4.1, 4.4)
  3. explain strategies to support the participation and engagement in classroom activities for learners with significant support needs, including the use of ICTs and assistive technologies to support and expand curricula learning opportunities for learners with significant support needs (APST 1.6, 2.6, 4.1)
  4. discuss the importance of, and strategies for effective, sensitive, and confidential communication with parents/carers including opportunities for collaboration and planning to support learner participation and engagement in classroom learning and transition planning (APST 4.1, 7.3).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of learners with significant support needs 20.00
2. Legislative requirements and expectations 10.00
3. Self-advocacy and self-determination 10.00
4. Collaborative partnerships 10.00
5. Pedagogical considerations and strategies 20.00
6. Assistive technologies, including ICTs 10.00
7. Education and transition planning approaches and considerations. 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 80.00
Private Study 85.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 40 40 19 Aug 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 40 40 16 Sep 2019
REVIEW ACTIVITIES 20 20 25 Oct 2019

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the APA referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ library's referencing guide. This guide can be found at

  2. Students are required to demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of academic language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, and referencing in all assessment responses. Marks allocated to the aforementioned criteria will be specified in the criteria for assessment of all assessment items.

  3. Students are required to submit ALL assignments to evidence meeting or exceeding the mandatory requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APSTs).

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Bachelor of Education and is benchmarked against the:

  1. internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.
  2. Queensland College of Teachers
  3. Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

Other requirements

  1. Participation: Students can expect it will be necessary to participate in and contribute to a range of learning opportunities in this course including online study activities, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations, group discussions and self-directed study activities in order to apply the coursework that will enable quality assessment tasks to be submitted as evidence of professional development.