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Learning and teaching - Austria

In Austria, the basic training of teachers at Teacher Training Academies takes six semesters for primary, lower secondary and special school teachers.  The issues of diagnosis and assessment are dealt with in the framework of courses, but do not form independent subjects.

The Teacher Training Academy in Linz, for instance, offers the subject “Paradigm shifts in special needs education – from segregation to integration” with one semester period per week and “Inclusive Pedagogy” with four semester periods. In addition, prospective special school teachers deal with special needs diagnosis and assessment within the fields of “Education of children with learning disabilities”, “Education of children with mental disabilities”, and “Speech Therapy”. The Teacher Training Academy in Graz conveys diagnostic knowledge to prospective primary school and integration teachers in courses such as “Heterogeneous and integrative school start” and “Integration and Provision education”. In the following, courses with a volume of 16 semester periods are listed, which are offered as additional courses for the training of integrated teachers:

  • Basics of an integrative pedagogy, Basics of an integrative education
  • Approaches of alternative education in an integration school
  • Integrative Education concrete
  • Therapy in an integration class

Similar courses are offered at other Teacher Training Academies and Pedagogical Institutes in Austria for basic and in-service training. 

From 2007 onwards all basic and in-service training institutions will be merged in Pedagogical Universities.

In-service and further training

The Pedagogical Institutes offer further training to teachers in service. In the following, several options are listed:

  • global programmes by the federal ministry
  • programmes at the Pedagogical Institutes for the teachers of the respective Austrian Provinces
  • offers of regional teacher training facilitiesù
  • programmes at the Special Educational Centres
  • school intern programmes (co-ordinated and funded by the Pedagogical Institutes)

In contrast to basic teacher training special attention is paid to the fields of expert opinions and Individual Education Plans, since teachers in practice have to deal with these issues almost every day and thus want and need support and information on the latest developments. Several further training courses are mandatory for all teachers in service, e.g. the course about the Individual Education Plan (e.g. in Salzburg). There, the district school inspector responsible for the regional educational management according to the task profile invites the teachers and headmasters personally.

In several Austrian provinces mandatory series of courses about “Diagnostics in the run-up of school start” are provided for heads of Special Education Centres to improve their diagnostic know-how, to promote exchange of experience and streamline the policies of the different districts. As an example, last year’s further training programmes (the titles of the courses) of the Pedagogical Institutes, the Special Education Centres and school-intern courses are listed as follows. They took place in the framework of afternoon courses or course series between three and twelve periods.  

Issuing of expert opinions and the Individual Education Plan: 

  • Diagnosis and provisions for individual assistance; 
  • Team teaching and education plan work;
  • Educational diagnosis in primary school;
  • Educational diagnosis within the SEN procedure;
  • Index for Inclusion;
  • The Individual Education Plan;
  • Issuing of expert opinions on children and adolescents;
  • Diagnosis and training methods for auditory perception; 
  • Work group for Special Needs Education;
  • Work group for heads of Special Education Centres;
  • Course series for heads of Special Education Centres in the framework of the teachers’ meeting on the issuing of expert opinions

Mathematics: 

  • Practical experience with dyscalculia;
  • Prevention of dyscalculia;
  • Assistance provisions for the basics of mathematics;
  • The basics of SEN for mathematics

Reading and writing difficulties, Dyslexia: 

  • Dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD;
  • Dyslexia;
  • First aid for dyslexia and dyscalculia;
  • Specific learning difficulties;
  • Poor partial achievements;
  • Reading promotion for dyslexia children and children with auditory impairments

Motor function and basal stimulation: 

  • Promotion of development via motor function;
  • Application of Frostig- and Pertra-materials;
  • Perceptional development as a basis for holistic learning;
  • Psycho-motor function;
  • Sensorial integration in everyday school life

Psychosocial development

  • Dealing with psychoses and neuroses during adolescence; 
  • Issuing expert opinions for behavioural problems; 
  • Pupils with ADHD

Promoting gifted students: 

  • Scope of action between disability and giftedness
  • Learning and support for gifted pupils from the point of view of neuropsychology
  • Autonomous learning
  • Detection of giftedness, principles and possibilities of support in case of underachievement

Training

In the framework of a Europe wide project together with an initiative group of Upper Austria, modules for an integrative teacher training have been elaborated. In collaboration with other European institutions, these modules are supposed to lead students to a master certificate.

These seminars explicitly deal with aspects of diagnosis. You will find more detailed information at: 

http://www.pa-linz.ac.at/international/Integer/Inhalte.asp?C1=2 

In-service and further training

Acquiring knowledge in a network environment at in-service courses through intensive, supervised exchange with fellow professionals, case work and practical concepts have already proven to be future oriented in several teacher training courses. On-site evaluation and documentation together with feedback of experts and support from teacher peer groups encourage active teachers to adopt innovative forms of education and assessment in their classes. For further information please refer to: http://www.pi.salzburg.at/aps/apsseminare/apsws0405.pdf  (Akademielehrgang: Neuer Schuleingang S 213)

Source:

  • Akademielehrgang: Neuer Schuleingang S 213: Academy course: New School Start; Pg 213
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