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Educating with Heart: Learning Inclusivity at Accelerate Access

SRT’s Accelerate Access programme is the inclusive arts playground for Teaching Artists to level up their game!  We’re all about cranking up the creativity dial and giving young D/deaf, Autistic, Neurodivergent and Disabled people more exposure to the arts. In this programme, we team up Teaching Artists with Special Education(SPED) teachers and a class of D/deaf, Autistic, Neurodivergent and Disabled learners, to create new standards for inclusive arts engagement in a disability setting.  

We spoke with Rachel Nip, a dancer, choreographer, actor and teaching artist to learn more about her experience at the Accelerate Access programme. 

Facilitating a class with students from Rainbow Centre. 

1. What inspired you to join the Accelerate Access programme?  

I went through SRT's Autism and Drama with Joe England and have been looking for more professional development opportunities to improve my skills as an educator and working with neurodiverse students.  

It was invaluable that the training included a 16-week practicum with Rainbow Centre which gave me a chance to apply the skills I learnt during the training sessions in a safe and supportive environment. 

2. What’s your one main takeaway that you've gained from participating in the programme? 

Every student is different and as an educator, I have learnt to take time to understand their needs while creating opportunities for them to be imaginative and creative.  

Facilitating a class with students from Rainbow Centre. 

3. In your role as a teaching artist, how do you anticipate your acquired skills from the programme will influence your future teaching approach? 

I have been able to use the skills I have learned from this programme in all aspects of my work as an educator to be present- listening and observing what my students need from me. I have also become more patient with myself in appreciating the process of creating together and not so focused on the outcomes.  

4. What can those planning to join expect from this programme? 

I remember the first time I worked with neurodiverse students I didn't know what to expect; but being open and listening to them is a great starting point to learn together about each other. I felt supported in the classroom as we were paired with another teaching artist to facilitate the lessons and was supported by the teachers at Rainbow Centre who helped inform us about the students. We collaborated with the classroom teachers on ideas that our students were interested in. They also became our partners during lessons to have fun together and support students when needed.  

5. In a nutshell, who and why should someone hop on board and sign up for this programme? 

The most important thing to bring when you join the programme is to be open to making mistakes because you will be challenged to think of arts education differently. This programme can expand your skills as an educator and might help you be more present by showing all the ways you can listen better and to make changes when needed.  

In time, you can develop greater patience and empathy for yourself and those around you. 

Explore opportunities to enhance your skills through SRT's development programmes in 2024! Find out more about SRT’s Accelerate Access programme here

SRT is grateful to be able to invest in upskilling a number of freelance teaching artists at Accelerate Access with the generous support of Temasek Foundation.  

Published on: 07-12-2023