What is inclusive learning and teaching, and why is it important?
Inclusive learning and teaching recognises all students' entitlement to a learning experience that respects diversity, enables participation, removes barriers and anticipates and considers a variety of learning needs and preferences.
University populations are increasingly diverse, and our approaches to learning teaching and assessment must acknowledge and respect that different groups of students learn best in different ways; progressing at different rates. Taking an inclusive approach to our teaching will enable all students to reach their potential and enjoy the best possible learning experience; for them. Inclusive teaching means that we:
Our University is committed to tackling inequality and exclusion, and this is demonstrated through our Equality and Diversity work. This commitment also evident in our Access and Participation Plan, which sets out a range of targets and written commitments to reduce and eliminate gaps in access, success and progression.
The concepts presented here are developed further in the content section.
A inclusive curriculum is one which is accessible conceptually and practically, enabling all students to recognise themselves and their cultures in the curriculum, and to develop skills and confidence to positively contribute to a global and diverse environment. Truly inclusive learning and teaching must be considered as a core principle through all elements of the course, module, assessment and delivery design.
Creating an environment that is inclusive for all students
When a learning environment is inclusive for all students, it contributes to them being:
To achieve, it is helpful to consider each of the following elements. Click each piece of the puzzle to find out more about each:
Flexible: ready to respond
Able to respond to a diverse and changing student body and the individual needs and preferences of students.
Consistent: ensuring a coherent course experience for all
Administration, organisation, teaching, learning and assessment are easy to understand across the course promoting course cohesion and identity.
Equitable: accessible, engaging and enhancing for all
Ensure any student can fully participate and benefit from the course experience to realise their potential.
Collaborative: promoting authentic student engagement
Enabling and developing a dynamic and supportive community of practice to mutual benefit.
Personalised: recognising the value of personal difference
Getting to know students, fostering a sense of belonging and creating a variety of opportunities for individuals to shine.
Diverse: awareness of diversity and global issues
Encouraging students to develop awareness of each others' cultural and learning differences, appreciating diversity as a life-wide and lifelong opportunity and one which is increasingly important globally.
There are four steps to making an inclusive learning environment:
Thinking about who your students are is the first step in designing an inclusive learning environment and curriculum. Regardless of group size, we can think about the following:
You will know some of these things from your experiences of teaching previous years and from student feedback, but it may be possible to find out more. Consider speaking with colleagues in Student Life or Library and Learning Services to learn about some of the challenges which prompt students to seek support. You could also consider asking your Student Experience Ambassador to run an activity with your students.