DAS Academy Empowers Special Educational Needs Teachers for Post-COVID 19 Education
Ceremony graduates special educational needs (SEN) specialists ready for challenges in the new normal of education and celebrates 10 years of providing quality interventional strategies for students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences (SpLD)
SINGAPORE, 16 September 2020 – DAS Academy, a subsidiary of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), celebrated the graduation of 59 students from its masters, postgraduate diploma and specialist diploma courses at its seventh Graduation Ceremony today. The event marks a significant milestone in the learning journey of graduates who have persevered through disruptions arising from the global pandemic with a passion to help students with SpLD realise their fullest potential.
This ceremony also celebrated DAS Academy’s 10th anniversary. Over the past decade, the academy has trained more than 500 graduates through diploma and master programmes, all of whom have gone on to create positive impact on children and people with SpLD.
Held online for the first time for the safety of graduates and visitors, the ceremony commemorated the graduation of five graduates receiving the Master of Arts in SEN/Additional Learning Needs, 12 graduates receiving the Postgraduate Certificate in SEN/Additional Learning Needs, 20 graduates receiving the Specialist Diploma in Educational Therapy and 22 graduates receiving the Specialist Diploma in SpLD. The online presentation also allowed for two international graduates, from Australia and Sri Lanka, to celebrate this milestone with the rest of their cohort, despite current travel restrictions.
As COVID-19 brings about a paradigm shift in education, home-based learning has become a core aspect of education. This has given SEN educators new challenges of delivering effective teaching from behind the screen. DAS Academy’s courses are customised to provide the required strategies, creativity and resources for educators to provide quality SEN intervention via online learning and for parents to support their children’s home-based intervention.
“It has not been an easy journey for our students to complete their courses through the pandemic. All of them come from different backgrounds but are motivated by a common goal – to make a difference to the lives of students with SpLD. I would like to offer them my warmest congratulations and encourage more people to explore SEN teaching as a career and help children with SpLD embrace the new normal,” said Ms June Siew, Head of DAS Academy.
“The favourite part of my job as an educational therapist at the DAS is getting to know my students and their traits. My ears are always open to their sharing and the more I get to know them, the better I can customise my lessons to suit their different learning needs. The DAS Academy course has reminded me to always consider the diverse profiles of students who come into the classroom so that I create an environment that respects and reaffirms their identities, especially in the wake of the pandemic when all our classes have migrated online,” said Ms Nur Aisha Bte Shaik Muhyideen, Valedictorian of Specialist Diploma in Educational Therapy of Class of 2020.
“Teachers play one of the most important roles in their students’ learning journey. My research shows that just by showing a bit more respect, patience and care, educators can help to alleviate some of the students' social and emotional burdens; and when educators inject humour and interactive activities in classes, students enjoy the learning journey more and can perhaps remember associated concepts better. These were some of the teacher attributes that were rated as important for students to achieve positive learning outcomes in school. These findings also strengthened my resolve to share the results of my research and how the attitude and actions of teachers and students have great impact on students with special educational needs,” said Mr. Steven Sim, Valedictorian of Master of Arts in SEN of Class of 2020.
In Singapore, an estimated 23,000 students from preschool to secondary school have dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention. About half of these children may experience co-occurring learning differences such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Specific Language Impairment (SLI), dyscalculia and dyspraxia – emphasising the importance of building SEN expertise in Singapore for a more inclusive society.
photo credit: Dyslexia Association of Singapore