Students with disability Illustrations of practice

Field work in a local context


A teacher of students with individual learning needs in a multi-age class selects the Year 8 unit of study: Landscapes and Landforms. The teacher aims to develop her students’ sense of wonder and curiosity about familiar places and the local environment in addition to developing an understanding of the connection Aboriginal Peoples have to the land. The teacher prepares her students for field work by introducing targeted vocabulary, photographs and video relating to their local environment. The text that she uses is age-appropriate. When in the field, students are encouraged to use their augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems to initiate conversation about the environment, and what they can see. In this way the students are able to meaningfully access the Year 8 Geography content, whilst addressing individual communication goals and developing geographical skills drawn from an earlier year level. In planning for, and implementing a lesson in geography for students with individual learning needs, the teacher demonstrates a number of approaches to personalise the teaching and learning program drawn from age-equivalent learning area content.

Learning area


Year level

Year 8

Content description

Make observations about familiar places and pose questions about them (ACHGS001)
The different types of landscapes and their distinctive landform features (ACHGK048)

General capability

Literacy / Comprehending texts through listening, reading and viewing / Comprehend texts (Level 1c, Level 1d)

General capability

Personal and social capability / Self-management (Level 1b)

Teacher intention

To develop her students’ knowledge about and connection to their local environment while using their individual communication systems and targeted vocabulary to comment and respond to questions in the field.

Personalised learning

Plan from age-equivalent learning area content:
The teacher plans from Year 8 Geography content to develop a teaching and learning program on Landforms and Landscapes, building on the concept of environment and connecting it to place.

•    Draw from learning area content at different levels along the Foundation to Year 10 sequence to personalise the learning:
The teacher draws from the Geographical Inquiry and Skills strand at Foundation level to provide a meaningful way for her students to access the Year 8 content around landscapes and landforms.

•    Use the General Capabilities and/or cross-curriculum priorities to adjust the learning focus and to personalise the learning:
The teacher uses the Literacy and Personal and social capability to plan for the development of targeted communication and self-management skills within the geography teaching and learning program.

•    Align individual learning goals with age-equivalent content to personalise the learning:
The teacher aligns the students’ individual communication goals with the geography content. The communication skills enable the students to develop their geographical knowledge and skills and the geography content gives an age-equivalent and authentic context for the students to apply their communication skills.


1. How would you develop an age-appropriate unit of work for students of different ages in the one class?

2. What strategies do, or could you use to make age-appropriate texts meaningful and relevant for students with an intellectual disability?

3. What indicators of student learning would you look for when aligning individual goals (eg. communication or social) with Australian Curriculum content?

Standard 1

Know students and how they learn

Focus area 1.6

Strategies to support full participation of students with disability

Standard 2

Know the content and how to teach it

Focus area 2.1

Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Clifford Park Special School (Rob Street Campus)
Toowoomba QLD Australia

School type


School sector


School location


School description

Clifford Park Special School in Toowoomba, Queensland, delivers educational programs to over 100 students aged from 12 to 18 years. Students at the school have individual learning needs.


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