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Inclusive teaching is a process rather than a set of specific actions and the most effective strategies will vary from subject to subject. However, listed below are some of the strategies which will have the most widespread impact.
- Consider inclusivity at the outset when planning new material and getting ready to start with new students. Check the process for being informed of any additional requirements where stated and work with the student to set up support. Where appropriate, ask students if they have any additional needs.
- Consider access for all when choosing a venue. This may include wheelchair access, or availability of induction loops. For some, reserved seating will make a venue accessible, for example, near to equipment or the board, or near a door which may, for example, help manage anxiety.
- When setting a timetable, allow for travel time and other disability-related requirements where at all possible. Sticking to an agreed timetable will make it easier for students who have support requirements to attend.
- Use any technology available, e.g. induction loops, or the PA system where in a large group, it may not be obvious who needs it. If a student has signed the ‘Agreement for the Recording of Lectures’, then they should be allowed to do so.
Examples of inclusive teaching
- Provide an overview of the course structure, including linking topics and clarity around course outcomes as this will enable the students to make better connections between course elements and prepare more fully for each lecture or supervision.
- Provide handouts, ideally in advance in electronic format. This is usually electronic and 24 hours in advance, or 12-14 sans serif font on off-white paper. It may be more logistically straightforward to allow all students to have their handouts in advance and there is no evidence that this reduces attendance at lectures.
- Avoid expecting students to undertake more than two learning activities at a time, and, where possible, even two. For many, listening and taking notes is more complex than for their peers and to then be required to answer questions or follow slides may be very difficult.
- Use ground rules to make discussion activities constructive and the expectations explicit. State at the start of sessions what the expected behaviour is, for example, if a student is lip-reading each participant will need to attract the student’s attention before beginning to speak. And if you only want students to speak for a maximum of three minutes, for example, then this needs to be stated.
- Offer additional time and support when a disabled student is preparing for presentations. Consider offering the opportunity for additional practice sessions and ensure the subsequent group discussion is constructive
Practicals, fieldwork, years abroad
- When leading in laboratories, fieldwork, or other environments ensure the above points are followed and that the student is prepared and able to access human support as required. Many disabled people need more assistance in an unfamiliar environment and good planning is essential.
- Disabled students are entitled to the same level of adjustment and support wherever they are learning, and assistance is required from those teaching them to achieve this.
- For disabled students needing assistance in the lab, this can be organised through the DRC and works best if planned in advance. For some, having the equipment partially set up is a good adjustment. Avoid casting another student as assistant.
- Ensure all instructions are available in written format in addition to being presented.
Sourcing and reading relevant materials
- Provide directed reading lists. Consider prioritising the reading list, or identifying a few key chapters. Indicate whether reading can be found online, if appropriate.
What libraries can do
- Provide good physical access, and be clear on alternative strategies where this is not possible
- Make your signs and notices very clear
- Provide a range of specialist equipment, e.g. scanner system, Braille printer, a voice-synthesiser, closed circuit television reader, screen-reading software, screen magnifier
- Make your catalogue accessible
- Accommodate extended loan periods
- Fetch books and other items from shelves
- Allow access to the library for the students' assistants
Producing and submitting written work
- Give feedback, including positive points in typed format. Adding a grade is most useful as this is a benchmark which is clear to students. Comments on a separate document help students to refer back to them and to see the feedback overall.
- Discuss the title with the student to avoid unnecessary ambiguity, and keep titles clear if a specific result is required.
- Consider use of model answers to demonstrate the type of essay/written work wanted