PDE 2.2 & 2.3
An analysis of how my teaching and learning approaches address the equality and diversity of my learners, and underpins and promotes an inclusive learning environment.
My commitment to equality and diversity is demonstrated by my inclusive teaching practice. I am conscious that all students, no matter their age, race, background, class or ability, are encouraged to achieve their full potential in a safe learning environment. Petty (1998:69) states:
‘All students must feel that they are positively and equally valued and accepted, and that their efforts to learn are recognised, and judged without bias.’
First and foremost I need to have an understanding of my learner. Each student has an initial assessment to fill out during the first lesson. This form of communication is important in establishing any needs that may affect their learning, whether it be a physical requirement such as a wheelchair user needing access to a lift; a religious obligation, such as needing to pray during the lesson; or a student with dyslexia requiring worksheets to be printed onto coloured paper.
There may be other issues affecting attendance or punctuality that I need to be aware of such as family issues, bereavement, etc. Knowing this will affect the way I consider and plan my lessons, ensuring everyone has fair treatment and equal access to learning.
During the class I will ask questions to ensure all students have access to the same resources. For example, can everyone see the text on the white board? Is everyone able to hear what I am saying? I would check my handouts are clearly written, in simple font and plain language with images that reflect the broad spectrum of society.
Whatever their needs, I make sure that I treat each individual with the same care and respect. Particularly in my Art for 65+ class I need to be aware of a few students with limited eyesight or who may be slightly hard of hearing. I can encourage them to sit at the front of the class for the slide show, I can print out the worksheets in a larger font or repeat anything they have not heard. In some more extreme cases I can request an assistive listening device from the college. I would always ask a student if they required this extra support if I noticed they were struggling. It’s important to ask students during the lesson if there is anything they haven’t heard or understood. They can speak to me as I circulate the classroom if they want to talk in person, or in confidence at the end of the lesson.
With a wheelchair user I would need to make sure they can reach the classroom via the lift, have access to all the same art materials as everyone else - even if this means moving everything into lower cupboards. I would make sure they could also reach the sink and lower their easel. It would also be important to consider the layout of the classroom to allow for movement of the wheelchair.
I try to recognise and use all opportunities to embed awareness of equality and diversity in my students. This is particularly important living in a country where there is a diverse mix of cultures; we can use this as an opportunity to celebrate this mix. I always try to make sure my resources include artists from other countries and cultures. When embarking on a mask project we looked at masks from Africa and South America for inspiration. In my Family Learning sessions we create arts and crafts relating to various different cultural celebrations throughout the world. In December we not only looked at Christmas but created a piece of artwork for Divali, a candelabrum for Hanukah and next week we are making dragon puppets for Chinese New Year.
As a teacher I would always resist and challenge stereotypical thinking and question my students to do the same. Brookfield suggests acting as a facilitator to: “…ensure that people understand that alternative interpretations of the world are...
Bibliography: Brookfield, Stephen D. (1995) Developing Critical Thinkers, Open University Press
Petty, Geoffrey (1998) Teaching Today: A Practical Guide, Nelson Thornes Ltd.
Reece Walker (2003) Teaching Training and Learning, Business Education Publishers Ltd.
U.S. News University Directory, Five Ways of Getting Parents More Involved at School
(accessed 26th January 2014)
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