1 x 1-hour lecture weekly
1 x 2-hour workshop weekly
1 x 2-hour excursion per semester
1 Admission into BEDECSEBDS-B Education (Early Childhood & Special Ed), B Disability Studies
1a Admission into BEDPRSEBDS-B Education (Primary R-7 & Special Ed), B Disability Studies
1b Admission into BEDMSSEBDS-B Education (Middle & Secondary/Special Ed), B Disability Studies
1c Admission into BEDSEOS-Bachelor of Education (Special Education)
1d Admission into BEDSBSE-Bachelor of Education (Secondary), Bachelor of Special Education
1e Admission into BEDECBSE-Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), Bachelor of Special Education
1f Admission into BEDPRBSE-Bachelor of Education (Primary), Bachelor of Special Education
1g Admission into BDDE-Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education
1h Admission into BDCI-Bachelor of Disability and Community Inclusion
Must Satisfy: ((1 or 1a or 1b or 1c or 1d or 1e or 1f or 1g or 1h))
Enrolment not permitted
1 of EDSP4001, EDSP9024 has been successfully completed
Assignment(s); Project; Fieldwork; Tutorial participation.
Topic description

Special education is a complex and constantly evolving field. This topic provides students with an overview of the field of special education and its development in a broader historical and social context. Students are introduced to key terminology and foundational concepts, and a variety of perspectives and models of assessment, intervention and support in special education. Students explore a philosophy of inclusion and its associated practices in and implications for contemporary schools and service settings. Students engage with a range of contemporary and topical issues related to Special Education, critically analysing their depiction in society and the media and evaluating relevant current research.

Educational aims

This topic aims to introduce students to the field of special education and to develop students' understanding of the following broad special education principles:

  • The field of special education is an evolving discipline based on philosophies, evidence-based principles and theories, relevant laws and policies, diverse and historical points of view, and human issues that have influenced and continue to influence the field and the education and treatment of individuals with exceptional needs both in school and society
  • The beliefs, traditions, and values across and within cultures can affect relationships among and between students, their families, and the school community
  • Inclusive educational practices promote access to, participation in and achievement in relation to quality curriculum for all students
  • The special educator's selection, adaptation, and creation of materials and instructional variables is guided by an understanding of the implications of an individual's unique characteristics and of the relationships of special education to the organisations and functions of schools, school systems, and other agencies
  • Professionals work collaboratively to promote transdisciplinary teaming as an integrated approach to teaching and learning
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Discuss historical and social developments that have shaped the field of special education
  2. Define key terminology, concepts, roles and service models in special education
  3. Discuss legal and ethical professional practice standards and relevant policies and their implications for students across a range of settings
  4. Critically analyse research evidence and evaluate contemporary claims related to special education
  5. Evaluate the extent to which specific learning environments foster cultural understanding, safety and emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and active engagement and encourage the independence, self-motivation, self-direction, personal empowerment, and self-advocacy of individuals with diverse learning needs

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.