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Inclusive Pedagogies & Assessment WP Workshop, London May 2012 Tempus: Equal Access for All Day Four, Prof Penny Jane Burke.

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Presentation on theme: "Inclusive Pedagogies & Assessment WP Workshop, London May 2012 Tempus: Equal Access for All Day Four, Prof Penny Jane Burke."— Presentation transcript:

1 Inclusive Pedagogies & Assessment WP Workshop, London May 2012 Tempus: Equal Access for All Day Four, Prof Penny Jane Burke

2 Aims of session To outline key issues for developing inclusive pedagogies and assessment To draw on notions of reflexivity To draw on these insights in relation to our experiences & practices To identify areas of further development for supporting equal access & widening participation in HE

3 WP & Pedagogical Practices Teaching and learning in HE is central to developing inclusive practices to promote equal access and participation Teachers who are working with learners from a range of different social and cultural backgrounds must carefully consider the complex power relations of the pedagogic space

4 Some key questions For example who is being included and who is not? What are the processes of inclusion? Whose knowledge and experiences are being recognised and drawn on in the classroom? Are there taken-for-granted practices that students from under-represented backgrounds might not be familiar with? How is teaching supporting students to access the curriculum and to understand expectations?

5 Developing inclusive approaches Being explicit at the start of the programme to promote mutual respect and clear ground rules of ways to work together – Having an explicit discussion with students about the different and competing perspectives and forms of knowledge in academic contexts BUT also subjecting these to critical reflection in collaborative processes of learning & meaning-making concerns with curriculum & assessment are seen as part of pedagogical practices and relations, NOT as separate entities Thus, pedagogies are concerned not only with explicit practices of teaching & learning but also with questions about the nature and construction of knowledge, competing epistemological perspectives & ways that learning might be assessed to support learning processes.

6 Flawed notions of deficit Inclusive teaching practices REJECT the notion that some groups of students are unable to engage with those practices and forms of knowledge granted the highest levels of social esteem Such perspectives are based on flawed assumptions of deficit connected to the politics of misrecognition Rather the teacher starts from the understanding that ability is tied to (unequal) access to different forms of (legitimated and privileged) cultural and academic capital – and the privileging of some knowledge and experience over others

7 Value & recognize diverse knowledge & experience The teacher works to demystify these practices & forms of knowledge to make them accessible to those who have been historically excluded from the opportunity to engage with them value & recognize the richness & diversity of experiences & perspectives all students bring to their learning & to pedagogical relationships - these experiences & perspectives seen as key resources for learning

8 Creating inclusive pedagogical spaces Teaching designed to creates spaces for students to: – explore & develop their interests and experiences, – to exchange ideas and dialogue, – to make connections between the theoretical and the practical – to develop their understanding within the wider diverse community of learning to which they develop a strong sense of belonging.

9 Reflection… Discuss the importance of developing inclusive pedagogies in HE for equal access and WP What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?

10 Writing transitions – Assessment Practices & Frameworks WP research focusing on assessment and feedback practices in HE has shown that academic writing and assessment practices often operate in exclusive ways – an over-emphasis on skills and a lack of attention to writing processes, methodologies and epistemologies – exposed the limitation of current understanding about the impact of different modes of assessment and feedback on students from historically under- represented groups

11 Feeling stuck At the moment Im not really able to look from a particular angle to define a theme for my essay and to get to any particular point…I had a tutorial with another professor but it didnt really help and I just feel stuck. Ive read so much but there are so many different theories and I cant find a focus. Im not sure what they expect at M level and I really want to write about what I understand. On the PGCE, the writing was more concrete – we looked at curriculum and the theories were related to my practice. At M level it is more theoretical (Transitions project, Victor, MA Education student, 2010)

12 Writing as technique or skills… approaches to teaching writing in HE tend to construct writing in mechanistic ways Students who are seen to have problems with their writing are often advised to seek additional help through remediation programmes writing is often constructed as a set of techniques that are separate from disciplinary/methodological concerns Assumption that writing can be straightforwardly taught to those individual students seen as lacking study skills

13 Exclusive practices Those who struggle to express their understanding in the privileged epistemological frameworks are often reconstituted as weak and at risk students. Such discourses often make problematic and flawed links between WP and lowering of standards. Such approaches have the effect of re/locating issues of access and participation with the individual students writing, rather than understanding that particular pedagogical and literacy practices narrow who can be recognised as a legitimate author/student in HE.

14 Writing as Methodology Research intervention: intensive writing workshops - I explored experiences of academic writing and literacy practices with a group of MA students They worked with pieces of student writing to ask questions of the text -- to try to understand what it might mean to be explicit, be critical and orchestrate the voices through referencing practices. used Laurel Richardsons idea of writing as a method of enquiry (Richardson, 2000) to: explore their experiences of writing & to develop their writing plans and material in the context of the MA assessment framework.

15 Writing as contextual Workshop acknowledged the complicated processes that writing entails for all students, including the intellectual and emotional struggle of crafting and producing a piece of writing for assessment. I deliberately organized this as a workshop embedded in the course, rather than as additional support for students identified as needing help with their writing The workshop emphasized the importance of the different contexts in which writing is produced & the identities and perspectives that profoundly shape the student-authors experiences of and approaches to writing for assessment in HE

16 Embedded approach… Mark: I think writing is one of the things that I feel able at, so that I wouldnt perhaps have chosen to go to an extra course, but it is actually really useful in enlightening me to the different styles of academic writing that were needed for this particular course. So it is perfect that it is embedded into the course.

17 Structure & thought patterns Gary: I would have liked something like this in my undergrad. It would have directed me so much better… something actually in the course saying this is how we do it, this is how we expect the writing to be, because again I think the writing is very personal to a subject and like my writing now is very different to what I was doing in my undergrad and even in what I was doing in my PGCE. Like there are very different styles of writing and so it would have been useful. This [workshop] was excellent because I have actually realised what I need to do in terms of my dissertation and how I need to structure it, maybe what thought patterns I need to have instead, and obviously having that clear guideline will hopefully help.

18 anxiety Beth: I think it is really important actually to embed it and wish that it had been earlier on for me. I think it would have helped with the anxieties that I was talking about at the start. You know they are just going to laugh when they get these essays; it is just not at all the standard that they are expecting. Because if you have never worked at that level before, you dont know at all whether you are achieving the standard…

19 Being explicit Tina: I really liked the bit where you were talking about all the different ways of interpreting, be explicit and be critical, because I am an English teacher, so I find the writing bit okay and I mark peoples essays all the time, so I find that bit fine, but I think as a teacher I write, be explicit and it is quite useful to see it like that and I can imagine me writing a similar thing and then going back to that checklist and just sort of, it is that meta- cognition isnt it, I guess? Because I can always be too comfortable with what I am doing and it is making me think a bit more carefully I think.

20 What are the purposes of assessing student work? It is important to identify the purposes of assessment explicitly as these will affect all aspects of your assessment strategy…

21 Purposes might include: To provide evidence of students knowledge & understanding To provide evidence of students acquisition of subject- specific skills, or the ability to apply knowledge & understanding To demonstrate power of expression of knowledge & understanding To support the learning of students To provide feedback on their work To help evaluate your teaching To help students evaluate their own learning

22 Formative & Summative… Formative: not normally graded Has a teaching function Aim to help students develop their understanding and improve their work It can help familiarize students with the practices and language of a new subject area Can be combined with summative assessment Summative assessment is formally graded

23 Participative assessment a process in which students and tutors share, to some degree, the responsibility for making evaluations and judgments about students written work, gaining insights into how such judgments are made and finding appropriate ways to communicate them – (Reynolds and Trehan, 2000: 270) This might involve self-assessment or peer- assessment

24 Self-assessment Students take greater responsibility for their learning Students might contribute a comment on their own work – e.g. the strengths and how they might develop their work further It could involve students negotiating a piece of writing with the lecturer & perhaps criteria for assessment The student's own evaluation could be submitted with the assignment and a grade negotiated with the lecturer

25 Peer-assessment Students might provide comments on the work of their peers, using agreed assessment criteria Students might grade their peers work, moderated then by the lecturer Less formal approaches: students provide formative feedback Student presentations with comments by peers, then written up for summative assessment by the lecturer

26 Reflection… What are the benefits and challenges of these different approaches to assessment? Have you ever experienced these approaches yourself? In what ways were they helpful in supporting learning?

27 Purposes of feedback… To support students in developing their writing and understanding To teach a particular aspect of disciplinary content To help support the student in understanding academic conventions To help students to identify strengths and areas of improvement To explain or justify as grade

28 Complexities to consider The purposes of feedback are sometimes mixed and unclear Different expectations of students and lecturers Students might find comments vague, unclear, confusing Students might have different feedback from different lecturers on the same work Feedback is shaped by the lecturers disciplinary, epistemological backgrounds as well as their own values and interests Feedback does not always relate to guidelines and/or criteria Feedback is often not as helpful as we want it to be Giving/receiving feedback is emotional, as well as rational – (adapted from Lillis and Swann, 2003)

29 Participatory approaches How does the student locate herself in the writing? If she uses the first or third person, what effect does that have on the claims that she is making? How does she draw on other writers exploring similar lines of enquiry? Which voices in the field is she drawing on to support her argument? What is the relationship between form and content in the text?

30 Discussion Consider the connections between the points made in PJBs presentation and your own experiences of pedagogies, feedback and assessment – What further questions has this raised? What are the particular implications of this for providing student support in relation to equal access for all? How do these considerations help us to think about developing a WP framework in HE?


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