Inclusive Education

Written by Chris Ross, Inclusive Learning and Teaching Officer 

Inclusive Education is not a new concept. Indeed, extensive literature is evident discussing the merits and virtues of teaching in an inclusive manner. The concept of Inclusive Practices is a wheel, which does not require to be re-invented or re-constructed. An impetus has gathered some momentum in recent times. Some of the salient reasons for the drive for Inclusive Education are:

  • Increased targets for international student recruitment
  • BME student attainment gap
  • ’Why is my curriculum white’
  • student liberation campaign
  • Student union representatives’ platforms e.g. on LGBTQ+ issues
  • Widening participation initiatives
  • Reduction in Disabled Students’ Allowance

All of which, contribute to the necessity for re-shaping our teaching delivery and interaction with our students, to ensure that their learning experience is as positive as we can make it. However, there are some key barriers that hinder implementation of Inclusive Education:

  • Leadership from the top
  • A focus on this area of development in the face of competing priorities
  • A realisation that culture change is at the root of this methodology.
  • Engagement with the concept across the University, for example in Professional Services as well as in the classroom
  • The initial resourcing and project planning to engage in change across the institute.
  • The time to enact change and the embedding of ways to measure success
  • An appreciation that beyond the ‘quick fix’, there is a long process of sustained engagement with this concept.
  • Support to engage staff across the university.

In January 2017, the Department For Education produced some guidelines, which are intended to support HEI’s in the quest for Inclusive Practices.

Here at King’s, we have taken a number of actions to advance the Inclusive Practices drive. These include:

  • Resources on KCL internal website
  • Alignment with KLI’s College-wide Changing Classrooms initiatives (education enhancement)
  • Alignment with KCL’s engagement with TEF and the 2029 Vision
  • Central Inclusive Education CPD packages plus bespoke training for departments
  • Supporting Faculty Inclusion strategies
  • Support with strategy and policy composition

A lot of guidance and resources can be found on the Inclusive Teaching portal, one of which is the Inclusive Teaching tool-kit which can be accessed via KEATS here. This device can be used to measure a practitioner’s inclusivity.

It is important to remember, that we cannot become Inclusive Practitioners overnight. A lot of time, thought and development is required with this process and its ongoing nature can inspire creativity and opportunities for new experiences.

Here are some quick tips to help with this development:

1. Housing all teaching materials on the virtual learning environment.
2. Improve the accessibility of all materials (For example MS Office accessibility checker).
3. Ensure reading lists are focussed, representative and up to date.
4. Facilitate the recording of teaching sessions.
5. The pre-selection of diverse learning groups.
6. Diversify the range of learning opportunities, approaches and assessment methods.
7. Regarding students as learning partners.
8. Seeking support and training on CPD opportunities.

 

Engaging with Teaching Support at King’s

Written by Dr Amy Birch 

As a member of research staff at King’s, it’s likely that you are engaged in supporting student learning. You might be doing this via the more traditional routes of tutorials, lectures, and laboratory demonstrations; however, you are also likely to be supporting students in your research environment – supervising undergraduate or postgraduate research projects or co-supervising PhD students.

Some of you may love engaging with students, while for some of you the thought of teaching may leave you in a cold sweat. Regardless of your level of enjoyment or experience, King’s offers a number of different options to support you.

King’s Learning Institute (KLI) support learning and teaching practises across the university. They offer courses for researchers very new to teaching, as well as postgraduate certificates for staff who wish to gain a formal qualification for teaching in higher education. If you are actively teaching at King’s, we recommend that you enrol for Preparing to Teach. Even if you have taught at other universities – this interactive course gives a huge amount of useful information specific to teaching at King’s. KLI have also produced Quick Guides to help staff who are new to teaching.

The Inclusive Education Portal is a fantastic collection of online guidance and resources that are accessible and easy to use. Together with the Inclusive Education Network, they support staff and students to implement and share best inclusive practises to enhance learning.

Have you considered e-learning? Digital education can help you engage more with your students. The Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning offer courses to help you get to grips with KEATS, designing e-learning modules, or create your own digital content. Ever had aspirations to start a podcast or vlog? They can help with that too!

Are you teaching in a health school faculty? You should be logging your teaching hours in the Education Database – not only does this provide information for the faculties about the contribution of staff to undergraduate & postgraduate programmes, it also provides a record of your teaching experience and competencies which can be used in your Professional Development Review. Want to teach but don’t know where to start? If you register your interest in teaching on this database, you can search for teaching availability across all health school faculties. Nb. The database is currently closed but will be opening again in July for staff to record their teaching hours – however you can still register your interest in future opportunities now.

Done all of these things? Great! Now you should consider applying for Higher Education Academy (HEA) professional recognition. Through the Teaching Recognition at King’s programme, you can apply for HEA professional recognition for free. Not only will this provide you with an internationally recognised badge of professional success, it also gives you the opportunity to share good practice with other HEA Fellows and get mentoring support.

Start engaging with these resources to heighten your teaching practices and create a supportive learning environment that fosters your students to fulfil their potential.