College of Arts, Society and Education
12 July 2021
Related Study Areas
Inclusivity in action
Every year on 12 July, we celebrate Malala Day in recognition of the fight to make education accessible to all. But Malala, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize says that “Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.” Malala Day marks an important time to reflect on the equitable access to education for people with disabilities. JCU Lecturer Dr. Satine Winter is speaking up in the field of inclusive education and helping the next generation of teachers to do the same.
Satine’s passion is advocating for accessible education and, while it started with her son, it grew into a lifelong career. “My absolute drive and reason for coming into education is to make sure that every child feels like they are valued, they are worthy, and that their dignity is promoted through their human rights to education,” Satine says.
Dr. Satine Winter works as a lecturer in Education at JCU in Cairns and is also the First Year Experience Coordinator. She teaches in both the Inclusive Education and Educational Psychology subjects at JCU.
“My passion comes from the fact that I am the parent of a child with multiple disabilities and it’s my passion to make sure that students feel like they are able to contribute to society, and to value every single person in this world, whatever their level of ability,” she says.
“With my son, we struggled to access information about different services in education. So, I was just driven to ensure that everyone— the students, the parents, and the teachers — is supported through school systems. We promote everyone’s right to access an education and that can look different for every single person.”
Although meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals might seem like a lofty task, Satine finds ways to incorporate it into her everyday work. Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, is part and parcel of Satine’s approach to accessible and inclusive education, incorporating it into her teaching at JCU.
Finding your ‘people’ can be a tricky but important task, but Satine says this feeling of belonging is the very essence of inclusion. This work is something that she does in all of her classrooms. “It’s really important for us to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for students where they can feel included,” she says. “The core message of inclusive education is that we really want everyone to feel like they belong in society.”
Satine says she has specifically designed assessment in her inclusive education subject that promotes inclusive teaching strategies, and creates a community of teachers dedicated to this cause. “One particular assessment for pre-service teachers requires them to video themselves modelling an evidence-based practice to support students with a disability,” Satine says. Evidence-based practice means putting teaching strategies into action that are supported by academic research.
The assessment takes the pre-service teachers’ knowledge and skills to another level by asking them to put their inclusive teaching strategies into action. “As part of the assessment task, they have to train their peers on how to use this teaching strategy, so, they’re essentially teaching their peers how to improve education,” she says.
But sometimes it can also be fun and games for Satine. “Myself and some of the other lecturers participated in the ‘Fix your Content Day’ Challenge back in May. We didn’t win first prize, but we’re aiming for that next year!” Satine laughs.
Fix Your Content Day is a 24-hour global challenge to create more accessible and inclusive digital learning content. In 2021, JCU came second in the Asia Pacific region and was awarded in the Bronze Club for its efforts.
"In our subjects here at JCU we promote the Sustainable Development Goals. We demonstrate an approach to quality education at the higher education level, but also use it in training JCU students to be teachers."
JCU Lecturer Dr Satine Winter
Teachers teaching teachers
The end-goal of Satine’s subjects is to have JCU teaching graduates spread their wings and make a positive difference in many different schools.
“We’re really trying to train pre-service teachers into becoming teachers who are ready to be self-reliant and who can lead other teachers,” Satine says.
But Satine knows all-too-well how busy teachers can find themselves while trying to run a classroom full of students. “We train pre-service and beginning teachers in schools with evidence-based strategies that are easy to learn. They’re quick, they’re simple, and they’re not so time consuming to support busy teachers in educating all of their students.”
Soon, Satine will be schooling even more beginning teachers on how to promote more inclusivity in their classrooms. “I’ll be running some professional development in schools and then actually training the teachers and getting their feedback. They are then going to demonstrate the skills they’ve learnt to their colleagues in school and then getting their feedback on how inclusive they find these teaching strategies to be.”
Satine’s passion reminds us on Malala Day that everyone has the right to a quality education and to feel a sense of belonging in society. Her work to make a difference in the lives of students of all ages and from all backgrounds shows how local efforts can contribute to greater education worldwide.