My name is Benita Heyburgh. I am a South African who has been teaching English as a second language for eight years at a local government-aided primary school in Hong Kong. I co-teach with the local teachers in the Primary one, two and three classes. In 2012, I started studying inclusive education, but soon realised that I was lacking knowledge pertaining to our students’ specific needs. While googling possible courses, I stumbled upon the University of East London’s website. They offer a Masters’ degree in Special and Additional Learning Needs in collaboration with the ICEP Europe. I was sold by the idea of studying at my own pace from home.
When students’ needs are not catered for, they often display behavioural issues. This is not acceptable in the Asian culture where discipline is perceived as crucial. To address this concern, our school started collaborating with a special needs school in our area. This afforded our teachers hands-on training within their environment, addressing specific issues that occurred within their classrooms. This was also a perfect topic for my dissertation!
I enjoyed studying through the University of East London. I found the lecturers to be knowledgeable and supportive. Furthermore, the online forum provided me with a safe platform to ask questions, discuss the work, and support and learn from one another. One should however be mindful that when studying online, self-discipline and commitment are essential! I used my weekends to study, as I was working fulltime during the week. This does take a toll on one’s social life!
Although my studies have not led to any major career changes at this stage of my life, I have seen positive changes within my classroom, cohort and even the rest of the school pertaining to knowledge and attitude of teaching staff working with students who are differently abled. The knowledge I have gained has also contributed to my confidence working with these students. My focus for the next year will be on Dyslexia. Dyslexia was one of the elective modules that I enjoyed most. My next goal is to become a specialist in this area.
We are now accepting applications for the September 2018 intake of this programme. If you would like more information on this Masters programme, click on the ‘University Programmes’ link at the top of the page of email Aoife on firstname.lastname@example.org