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Inclusive Curricula Design York St John University January 23 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "Inclusive Curricula Design York St John University January 23 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 Inclusive Curricula Design York St John University January 23 2015

2 Agenda Background The Project Years 1 & 2- Case Studies and Subject Themes Year 3 – The Student Voice General Observations on Inclusion Questions

3 Background Internationalisation of HE Equality Act 2010 Reasonable adjustments Promote equality of opportunity Promote understanding between groups Scottish Funding Council priority

4 History To date many initiatives have looked at diversity in terms of one specific protected characteristic: Disability International students Need to redefine what is meant the inclusive curriculum. Scottish Funding Council funded project Curriculum design Curriculum delivery Assessment

5 Some Fundamental Issues Occupational segregation – staff Engineering, (some) Science, Education, Computing, HR Subject segregation – Students Engineering, (some) Science, Education, Computing, HR, Sports (coaching) Student Retention Engagement Pass rates Students as co-creators

6 Inclusive Practice ‘Inclusive Curriculum Practice refers to the process of developing, designing and refining programmes of study to minimise the barriers that students may face in accessing the curriculum.’ Gravestock (2008:1)

7 HEA Change Programme Developing an Inclusive Culture in HE (4 Scottish HEIs involved) College Change Programme 8 Colleges Involved Institutional Case Studies 2 further institutional case studies (1HE & 1FE) to show how change has been carried at the institutional level. Report available from HEA

8 Embedding Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum A three year programme funded by the SFC and run by the Higher Education Academy and Scotland’s Colleges.

9 Years 1 & 2 Individual Academic Members of Staff Departments / Discipline Groups Institutional Level Work

10 Individual Academic Members of Staff Specialist Workshops Collection of Case Studies (on-going) Brokerage Service (run by Scotland’s Colleges) Capacity Building Workshops / Materials Enabling Staff Engagement in the Inclusive Curriculum and Using Evidence Based Approaches to Enhance Inclusive Practice). Developing a series of on-line resources

11 Departments / Discipline Groups A series of discipline based workshops Eight areas Built Environment Business Sport Health and Social Care Humanities Beauty and Hairdressing Business & Management Computing Science

12 Students as Co-Creators of Curricula Research by Dr Catherine Bovill, Lecturer, Academic Development Unit, University of Glasgow

13 Student at University College Dublin “You work in a university and you get surrounded by people who should like teaching but who really don’t like teaching and don’t like students…’they’re so stupid’, ‘they don’t do any work’, ‘they’re so lazy’…and I think actually, it’s our problem, because they’re not, they’re smart, they’re engaged, they’re interested.” (UCD)

14 The tutor-student relationship  Tutors as gatekeepers to curricula design  Relationship as litmus test to motivations of tutor & students  Students as experts in student experience  Tutors have expert knowledge & control over assessment  Tutor and students as learners in joint inquiry (Freire, 1993)  The importance of the nature of dialogue (Fischer, 2005; Haggis, 2006)  Exposure to rich pedagogical variety - experimentation  Is there a curriculum without students? (Barnett & Coate, 2005)  Tutors operate within the constraints of a market-driven university system (McLean, 2006; Parker, 2003)  Legitimate concerns about handing over control and loss of expertise

15 How can you teach inclusively? Be reflective by asking yourself the following: How might your own cultural-bound assumptions influence your interactions with students? How might the backgrounds and experiences of your students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning in your classroom? How can you modify course materials, activities, assignments, and/or exams to be more accessible to all students in your class? Incorporate diversity into your overall curriculum. Be intentional about creating a safe learning environment by utilizing ground rules. Be proactive in connecting with and learning about your students. Utilize a variety of teaching strategies, activities, and assignments that will accommodate the needs of students with diverse learning styles, abilties, backgrounds, and experiences. Use universal design principles to create accessible classes. For example, present information both orally and visually. When possible, provide flexibility in how students demonstrate their knowledge and how you assess student knowledge and development. Be clear about how students will be evaluated and graded. Provide justifications. Take time to assess the classroom climate by obtaining mid-semester feedback from students. Cornell University (2014)


17  4 Scottish HEIs  Student interviewers in each  Each interviewer doing 40 interviews (10 from each of 4 broad curriculum areas)  160 Voices  Data Collection & Analysis

18 Student comments “Yeah definitely different, it’s hard to discriminate against me I’m a young straight white guy, but it does happen to others”

19 I saw great picture in an Education seminar which had a goldfish, a monkey, and elephant and a bird and they were all asked to go climb that tree. The goldfish is going to suck. You know you have to set a challenge which is achievable but you have to differentiate them for the different people in you class. You should know that especially after you have met them in your seminar. As an education student you should be looking for ways in which you can provide that opportunity to meet the expectation for everyone in that room

20 What’s been tried? Curriculum Audits Self analyses Institution and Departmental level Funded research Student collaboration Policy Often linked to learning and teaching strategies Compliance based approaches Threat of litigation

21 The Future Move away from ‘disability obsession’ Promote academic teachers as owners of inclusive curricula Institutionalise or departmentalise….not projects Use subject networks Spread best practice Further joint approaches with students

22 Any questions?

23 References Gravestock, P. (2011) Incluisve Curriculum Practices, e-bulletin, University of Gloucestershire / Higher Education Academy. Caruana, V. (2011) Promoting students’ ‘resilient thinking’ in diverse higher education learning environments, C-SAP, available at

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