University of Sydney teacher education students learn about stuttering in schools

Final-year teacher education students at the University of Sydney will be schooled on the importance of early intervention and the treatment of stuttering as part of program to help prepare them for the classroom.

Sydney Teacher Education
University of Sydney Faculty of Education
Researchers from the Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences hosted an education forum to deliver knowledge about stuttering to future teachers, to raise their awareness about the prevalence of speech disorders, and to arm them with advice about how to help students who stutter.

Associate Professor Ann Packman from the university’s Australian Stuttering Research Centre (ASRC) said the aim of the forum was to build early professional relationships between teachers and speech pathologists and help equip teachers to support students who stutter.

“Approximately one per cent of school students stutter, so it’s very likely that at some point during their career a teacher will be confronted with how to support a student in their classroom with this problem,” Associate Professor Packman said.

“Stuttering can have a disabling effect on students during their school years, affecting their relationships with teachers and peers, their self-confidence and academic performance.

“The evidence is students who stutter are more likely to experience bullying and perform poorly, which is why it is so important to help teachers so they know how to help these students thrive in the classroom and reach their education potential.”

Associate Professor Packman said it was important to raise awareness among teachers about stuttering because early intervention is critical.

“Speech pathologists recommend early intervention to treat stuttering, because therapy is very effective when a child is young and their brain is not yet fully ‘hard-wired’,” Associate Professor Packman said.

“Speech pathologists are trained to treat speech disorders, but our teachers interact with children on a daily basis and are on the frontline when it comes to identifying early signs of distress in children who stutter.

“Treating school-aged children requires special sensitivity, so it’s critical to regularly host events like this to build awareness and help ensure the next generation of teachers knows where to turn for help.”

Researchers at the university are currently developing better stuttering treatments for primary and high school children, including an online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for speech-related anxiety.

The University of Sydney forum is a collaboration between stuttering support group Speak Easy, the ASRC, and the university’s Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Master of Teaching (Primary or Secondary) at the University of Sydney

First offered in 1996, the University of Sydney’s Master of Teaching was the first of its kind in Australia, and remains one of the most successful teaching training programs in the nation. The Master of Teaching Primary program is designed for those who wish to teach Kindergarten to Grade 6. The Master of Teaching Secondary is designed for those who wish to teach grades 7 though 12.

Program: Master of Teaching (Primary or Secondary)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: Round one applications close on October 31, 2014. Round two applications close on January 9, 2015; however, it is strongly recommended that students apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

University of Sydney Speech Pathology School

In common with other departments at the University of Sydney, the discipline of speech pathology promotes students’ development of generic  communication and teamwork skills, as well as discipline-specific knowledge and skills. The course is designed to promote self-direction and encourages the graduates to have a sense of their own individuality and creativity. The university offers a two-year, graduate-entry Master of Speech Language Pathology program. It is intended for students coming from an undergraduate degree in any field, who wish to gain the requirements to become a speech pathologist.

Program: Master of Speech Language Pathology
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: October 1, 2014

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