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Enhancing Success through Effective Teaching Practices Phil Gravestock University of Gloucestershire

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing Success through Effective Teaching Practices Phil Gravestock University of Gloucestershire"— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing Success through Effective Teaching Practices Phil Gravestock University of Gloucestershire

2 The Project RES-139-25-0135, Enhancing the Quality and Outcomes of Disabled Students Learning in Higher Education (2004-2007) ESRC/TLRP-funded project Longitudinal study: –following 31 students –across four institutions in England and Scotland –for 3 or 4 years of full time study

3 Project Key Findings Key findings that have an impact on how we work with and teach disabled students: HE environment may be disabling or enabling for individual students Key role of staff –in ensuring a positive learning experience –in providing access to support Additional work associated with being a disabled student

4 HE Environment Students could feel disabled or enabled within the HE environment, e.g. through the use of labels, experiences of support, choice of subject Providing information to students about the support available to them was key –Several students accessed support late or not at all –Common need for students to be proactive in order to access support

5 HE Environment Duncan only describes himself as a disabled student within university: I do describe myself as a disabled student, when my mates and stuff ask, its like, how did you get this and how do you get the extra time and stuff, thats how I describe myself, but thats not how I describe myself out of university (Duncan, computing, dyslexia)

6 HE Environment In response to the question so you dont consider yourself to be a disabled student, Ben responded: No, not really, but I think thats mostly because of the course Im doing. Because Ive managed to do something to almost get around it. So its something thats, its there, but its not relevant to my work. (Ben, dyslexia)

7 HE Environment Using the label of disabled student to get support: It does give you access to all sorts of things because if you dont say Im disabled you dont get the support. You have to understand that you need the support in order to get where you want to be. [...] So, yeah, you need the label to get the help definitely. (Daisy, visual impairment, dyslexia, dyspraxia)

8 Role of Staff Positive staff attributes identified by students: –Helpfulness –Availability –Approachableness –Being supportive Importance of responding to an individual students needs rather than blanket provision based solely on impairment

9 Role of Staff Approachability of staff: It depends on the lecturer. The likes of [name] in language, I would have no problem telling her anything about that because she is the type of lecturer who would understand fully. Whereas you have got the other ones and you think no, they actually think you are just stalling or looking for something for nothing. [...] I dont want them to look at me differently in any way. (Andrew, cerebral palsy)

10 Role of Staff Responding to individual student needs: In the first year one of the lecturers who was sitting in on my [exam] took it upon himself to read the entire maths exam test out […] nice enough guy – but hes read this entire A plus 2 to the power of … and I said, well I can see that! [...] Ill ask you when I need you to read something. And hes no, no, Id better read it all out, and this is eating into my time and I was just enraged and I was nearly on the point of walking out. (Brendan, dyslexia)

11 Additional Work Students often did significant extra work compared to their non disabled peers –Organisational – associated with nature of impairment or arranging support –Emotional - managing the perceptions of staff and students, choices about positioning disability as part of their identity

12 Additional Work Organisational: In the first year there was a lot of things I needed to be put in place like my glasses with a prism in, the dark tint, the dyslexia training, the computer training for the software they give us. The first year was quite time- consuming because I had to find spaces for all this in between lectures, but when I conquered that and I did in the first year I was pretty chuffed with myself. (Barry, dyslexia and undisclosed visual impairment)

13 Additional Work Emotional: Its a disability of sorts but I dont regard it as a disability. I prefer to regard it as some horrible part of my life that I dont like very much. I think its the best way of explaining it. […] Something I have realised is that it can affect my life a lot more than I realised. It is difficult to keep everything in balance. (Kathryn, diabetes)

14 Teaching and Learning Students expressed a preference for a mixture of teaching and learning activities –There was a preference not to experience one single teaching format over a long period of time –Several students identified passive lectures as a poor example of teaching –Some examples of active learning, however, could also prove disabling Students from all four institutions identified the benefits of being provided with lecture notes in advance

15 Teaching and Learning Lectures: I dont like straight lectures. [...] My worst is lecturers that just talk at you because then you cant listen to them and type and think about it, youre just literally trying to do what theyre saying. Even if theyre standing up theyre flicking their PowerPoint and making you copy it. Youre not listening, youre just copying. (Daisy, dyslexia)

16 Teaching and Learning Activities within lectures, such as in-class reading: Thats another nightmare, no way, thats awful. [...] We had that in one of our [subject] lectures, read this and then comment on it in class. No, I cant do that because it takes ages to read things and I have to highlight things and then [...] no, I dont like that. (Daisy, dyslexia)

17 Teaching and Learning Providing lecture notes in advance: [Lecture notes help] because you can take them to the lecture with you and then instead of having to write and listen at the same time [...] you have got the main teaching points anyway and you listen out for them and then you make extra notes at the side. Its a lot easier to keep up. (Andrew, cerebral palsy)

18 Teaching and Learning Providing lectures notes in advance – a staff perspective: I suppose I dont really agree with lecture notes in advance in the sense that it encourages people not to go. If they freely got the lecture notes available then they wont turn up.

19 Teaching and Learning Different lecture notes to different students: [The lecture notes] werent as complete as the set that the dyslexia people have received [and] we would need that actual material that they got, because [...] he is kind of throwing information at you and you couldnt take that down. (Kathryn, diabetes)

20 Conclusion Feedback from disabled students suggests that they welcome: A mixture of teaching delivery methods. Lecture notes should be available in advance. Feedback also noted: Staff attitudes are crucial to the learning experience. Assumptions should not be made about students abilities.

21 References Fuller, M., Georgeson, J., Healey, M., Hurst, A., Kelly, K., Riddell, S., Roberts, H. & Weedon, E. (2009) Improving Disabled Students Learning (Abingdon: Routledge) Healey, M., Fuller, M., Bradley, A. & Hall, T. (2006) Listening to students: the experience of disabled students of learning in one university, in M. Adams and S. Brown (eds) Towards Inclusive Learning in Higher Education: developing curricula for disabled students (Abingdon: Routledge). Acknowledgements:Hazel Roberts and Professor Mary Fuller

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