Strategies for Fostering Inclusive Classrooms in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion: Volume 16

Cover of Strategies for Fostering Inclusive Classrooms in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion
Subject:

Table of contents

(20 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xii
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Part I Concepts and Principles

Abstract

We are all a part of the structures and struggles of a wider society, the impact of which is also felt at the classroom level which creates its own society. Classrooms are guided by the invaluable contribution of teachers who play a key role in imbibing inclusivity, compassion, and social justice in the classroom atmosphere. The teachers ensure that the classrooms are spaces in which every learner feels wanted and included. An inclusive classroom has huge positive impact on learner where every child, regardless of their background, benefits from the learning process. Inclusiveness is far from being mere rhetoric and achieving an equitable opportunity for all is a challenge. Tools, frameworks, and standardized procedures have been formulated with an effort to minimize learning barriers and create a genuine inclusive environment. Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education advocates inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all in every part of the world by 2030. It emphasizes inclusion and equity as the foundations for quality education and learning. This chapter explores the meaning of inclusiveness and multiculturalism in a classroom context and further explores strategies that have been adopted toward formulating an all-inclusive classroom. In this volume, authors have written about inclusion and equity in and through education systems and programs. Through case studies and narratives, they have described steps undertaken in different parts of the world to prevent and address all forms of exclusion and marginalization, disparity, and inequality in educational access. The chapters will serve as a resource for educationists and practitioners and contribute toward inclusive education.

Part II Global Practices and Challenges

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Abstract

This chapter describes culturally sensitive pedagogical strategies for post-secondary faculty and administrators in North America when dealing with international students from cultures that may not uphold the same standards that North American universities do with respect to academic integrity. Strategies are proposed for educators to help international (particularly Asian) students evolve from a culturally indoctrinated practice of repeating a master’s words verbatim (with or without citation) to interpreting the master’s words in their own voice. Evidence-based approaches are identified to encourage post-secondary educators and administrators to progress from a punitive, consequence-based approach toward plagiarism to an intrinsic reward and virtue-based approach toward student self-authorship.

Abstract

This chapter draws on data from two studies, one in Canada and another in the United States, focused on the experiences of pedagogical partnership as described by students traditionally underrepresented and underserved in higher education. These students argue that such collaborations with faculty hold promise for creating more inclusive and responsive practices. Using the concept of epistemic justice, the authors explore how partnerships can facilitate epistemological forms of equity and inclusion by (1) creating more equitable conceptions of knowing and knowledge that open possibilities for (2) fostering students’ confidence in their knowledge and willingness to share it with others. The authors argue that partnerships – in their epistemic, relational, and affective impacts – are one powerful way to recognize underrepresented and underserved students as “holders and creators of knowledge” (Delgado-Bernal, 2002, p. 106) and bring about greater epistemic justice in higher education.

Abstract

This chapter describes the situation of the two ‘official’ linguistic communities within the province of Quebec, Canada, whose primary language is either English or French and who attend post-secondary pre-university colleges. It examines the point of view of young Anglophones learning French as a Second Language (FSL), for whom French instruction is mandatory. A random probability sample of 974 students was selected in 11 colleges. The authors conducted 22 individual interviews and met with 48 students during four focus group sessions. The interviews and the quantitative data show that students at all levels have low levels of motivation for FSL and negative attitudes towards the Francophone community. How students perceive FSL education has a statistically significant impact on motivation: the more positive their perceptions, the higher their motivation. Moreover, the reported number of Francophone friends and the number of hours students reported speaking in French with these friends, has a significant impact on their perceptions. Based on the importance of this friendship dynamic, the authors propose that Second Language Acquisition should not focus primarily on language code proficiency and communication skills, but rather encourage students from different linguistic groups to meet and develop productive relationships, which is scarce in language instruction settings.

Abstract

In 2012, the Department of English at the University of Sydney, Australia, established The LINK Project, a faculty-driven outreach program that builds sustainable partnerships with low socioeconomic status (SES) secondary schools across the state of New South Wales. Focused on discipline-centered engagement, LINK positions pedagogic work as a vital site for the advancement of a social inclusion agenda. However, the operative logic of such programs present a distinct set of pedagogical challenges if they are to negotiate the established scholarly frameworks that resist principles of inclusion and threaten to displace and exclude the cultural knowledges, skills, and capitals of students of low SES backgrounds.

This chapter postulates a framework for productive disciplinary engagement that generates new spaces for “relational equity” (Boaler, 2008) between post-secondary institutions and outreach high schools and within diverse tertiary classrooms. It draws on three LINK learning modules designed to foster new ways of forming attachments and enhancing achievement in outreach contexts. In doing so, it describes an approach that seeks to open higher education institutions to multiple knowledges and ways of knowing (Gale & Mills, 2013) in the pursuit of what Jacques Rancière (1987, p. 2) calls “the minimal link of a thing in common.”

Abstract

Freire (2000) suggested that all teaching is political; social justice teaching is arguably deeply rooted in encouraging a transformative practice that reduces social inequities. The intersectional identities and realities experienced by classroom participants shape their knowledge of and perspectives on studies based in social justice and, therefore, educators should strive to create lessons that are not in conflict with the knowledge and perspectives of their students (Epstein, 2009). The authors explored how the Coady International Institute teaching staff – who were primarily engaged in leadership training with development practitioners from around the world – included the realities experienced by persons living with disabilities in the global South in their curriculum and classroom discussions. Their research focused on the teaching staff’s existing knowledge of disabled persons’ movements and lived realities in the global South and how their course content addressed those realities. A critical component of this work included content development and direction from persons living with disabilities who have experience in global development studies and in pedagogical design in adult learning contexts. This content, cocreated and/or compiled by individuals with lived experience, will be shared both internally and externally to Coady graduates working in organizations around the world.

Abstract

Student support in higher education (HE) is a matter that has received, and is still receiving, rigorous attention in the research environment. HE faces challenges related to the throughput rates nationally and internationally and, as a result of that, most African countries have prioritised support in HE institutions, particularly universities. Amongst the groups of students targeted to receive student support are the marginalised students,1 particularly students with visual impairments (SWVI). Developed countries have tirelessly attempted to ensure that SWVI are supported through aggressive policy positions and technological interventions. This chapter seeks to provide insights on the support programmes for SWVI in HE institutions in Africa. The chapter follows a qualitative approach and uses the social justice theory (Rawls, 1971) as a conceptual lens. Drawing on this theory, it can be argued that the support programmes and services provided to SWVI in Africa limit their participation in HE and constrain effective learning and, ultimately, perpetuate social injustice.

Abstract

Higher education (HE) institutions continue to diversify learning spaces due to rapidly shifting student demographics and increased efforts to internationalise curriculum to ready graduates for increasingly diverse work environments and the evolving global economy. This chapter presents a strategy on internationalising college curriculum via the Global Citizenship and Equity (GCE) Education model, which has been integrated in 92% of Centennial College’s programmes across six distinct disciplines; also known as GCE integration. In 2015, the College initiated mixed-methods research to examine the impact of GCE integration. Employing a theoretical framework of transformative learning, the study invited participation from students in surveys and focus groups to elicit their perceptions of GCE integration in respect to their personal, social and professional development. Overall, the research indicates positive outcomes for students engaging with GCE integration with the majority of students reporting increased knowledge and capacity to address issues related to GCE education. Centennial College’s GCE integration model, presented in this chapter, provides an effective strategy for HE faculty to engage students with GCE through teaching innovation, reflective practice and curricular modification in the classroom.

Abstract

With growing concerns about an academic literacy crisis plaguing the education system in South Africa, tertiary institutions have to find ways to strengthen the academic literacy skills of underprepared students transitioning into higher education. This is more pressing for low socioeconomic status students who are linguistically marginalised and face historically poor graduation prospects. In response, this chapter offers a snapshot of two studies conducted in South Africa that sought to test the efficacy of a purposefully designed academic literacy intervention (Reading to Learn (RtL)). The intervention sought to address inequitable academic literacy skills development of linguistically marginalised students, who are also socioeconomically disadvantaged. Two small-scale, longitudinal studies were run in two separate educational contexts in South Africa – a senior secondary school context and a tertiary context with largely first-generation undergraduate students. Results of both studies showed the RtL intervention to be successful at raising the level of academic writing skills of the research participants. Furthermore, similar to other RtL studies conducted globally, the two studies found weaker-performing students made the greatest gains in their academic writing skills, showing evidence of a convergence effect – more equitable learning outcomes being exhibited in the English classroom.

Abstract

This chapter provides higher education faculty with a model that promotes equity and inclusion by engaging students in developing critical consciousness about their country’s social problems. This model has been developed and refined through research and practice at a private liberal arts university in Quito, Ecuador since 2011. It is a service-learning program where students work directly, for 80 hours, with a vulnerable human group while taking a course where the academic content includes topics, such as poverty, education, health, gender, and discrimination. With this experiential learning model, students have gone through a transformational process that has allowed them to question their mental schemes. This transformation has been documented with qualitative data. The impact of this model has been researched using both quantitative and qualitative measures of students’ civic attitudes and skills using a scale called the Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire, which includes six factors: Civic Action, Interpersonal and Problem-Solving Skills, Political Awareness, Leadership Skills, Social Justice, and Diversity Attitudes. A significant impact of the course on students’ skills has been found on almost all factors in two studies conducted in recent years. This chapter describes the service-learning program in detail mentioning the research done.

Abstract

A major challenge in teaching medicine in a rural setting is that long geographical distances separate students, instructors, and educational resources. Clinical schools within the University of Sydney Medical Program are geographically dispersed and face similar challenges. As a result, a virtual ophthalmology clinic (VOC) was developed (Succar et al., 2013) and it is being delivered online to enable equitable access and consistency in the foundations of ophthalmology education for rural-based students. The program allows students to sharpen their clinical reasoning skills by formulating a diagnosis and treatment plan on virtual patients with simulated conditions. To evaluate the educational effectiveness of VOC, a randomized controlled trial was conducted with the University of Sydney medical students (n = 188). The pre- and post-test and student satisfaction questionnaire were administered. Twelve months later, a follow-up test was conducted to determine the long-term retention rate of graduates. On the basis of a statistically significant improvement in academic performance and highly positive student feedback, it became clear that the online delivery of VOC can serve as a model for higher education institutions creating an all-inclusive learning environment experienced by rural students and staff regardless of location and distance, while making a positive impact on learning.

Abstract

In 2014–2015, a group of first-time freshman students participated in the Education as the Practice of Freedom Project. The project pedagogy and curriculum were inspired by Critical Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory of Education, and Anti-Colonial Schooling; they incorporated a series of social-psychological reflective assignments and activities (stereo-type threat, growth mindset, and relevance interventions) developed to transform the way students perceive, experience, and transition to higher education. This research seeks to explore as up to what extent the aforementioned pedagogical frameworks amends social-psychological academic stressors that affect how the students of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities perceive, experience, and transition to higher education, with a particular focus on what this pedagogical framework in first year seminar looks like in practice. A transformative research design was employed for this research project that triangulates qualitative and quantitative data (auto-ethnographic case-study), with in-depth interviews of faculty, focus groups with students, and a document analysis of syllabi, lesson plans, assignments, a formative experiment, and institutional data analysis. This research is praxis driven with an intent to influence educators, administrators, stakeholders, and anyone who is about that life.

Abstract

In pursuit of democracy, John Dewey argued that public education should be the driving force. As educators strive to address issues of social justice and create inclusive academic environments, they must address the inequalities that are perpetuated in our educational system. Higher education (HE) plays a pivotal role, as it has the potential to shape those who will go on to become future educators, lawmakers, and politicians. Recognizing the importance of HE, we have the responsibility to address inclusivity in and out of the classroom. This chapter examines how critical pedagogy can be used as a tool to promote social justice in HE. In doing so, it will challenge educators to begin to address socially constructed ideas that are agents of oppression. Utilizing critical pedagogy, faculty and students can learn together and critically challenge these educational and social injustices. This will have a rippling impact on our educational system and society as a whole. Successfully implementing this pedagogical approach can lead to diverse and inclusive classrooms that foster learning for all students.

Abstract

Often culture, socio-economic conditions and their multiple roles and responsibilities towards family, work and social life impede women from achieving academic goals. Online learning is perceived as flexible, ‘comfortable’ and as a mode of learning which can be better balanced with other demands and responsibilities such as work, family and social life. With this study, the aim of this chapter was to focus on the ‘geography’ of online learning, explore whether it supports women’s access to higher education and understand whether women find online learning to be a fulfilling experience. The participants in this study confirmed that online learning makes higher education more accessible to women who might otherwise find it difficult to balance multiple roles and responsibilities with academic aspirations. Female students value the flexibility and convenience of online learning and despite challenges (e.g. handling workload or technology), their learning experience is positive. Interestingly, participants value asynchronous online communication with peers and tutors but learn better in a face-to-face environment. The findings of this chapter have implications for online programme designers, programme managers and directors who should consider the multiple responsibilities of female students and their preference for a more personalized learning environment.

Abstract

Educational development is increasingly focussed on quality assurance and enhancement. Individual states/countries have their own mechanisms for assuring the student experience, and this has been accompanied by development of tools (including the UK’s National Student Survey) for capturing student opinion of our efforts. Areas where more work is needed include equity and diversity and it is perhaps time for a fresh approach. In other sectors, International Standards ensure safety, reliability and quality of products and services. Such standards also represent a stakeholder-negotiated (and therefore shared) understanding of ‘good quality’, supporting organisations in accessing new markets and permitting a fair global trade, an approach relevant to higher education. Recent publication of ISO (The International Organization for Standardization) Standard 27500 (the International Standard describing the principles and rationales behind becoming a human-centred organization) seems timely. Encouraging educational institutions to adopt this Standard may offer a strategy for addressing several issues, including internationalisation.

Abstract

This chapter introduces an alternative way of creating inclusive pedagogies by engaging diverse students across geographical borders in participatory research using Voice over Internet Protocol (specifically, Skype) technology. It begins with a discussion on diversity and inclusion within the wider global context and the UK higher education (HE) context, highlighting how institutions engage (or disengage) with multiple aspects of diversity encountered within the sector. It examines how the participatory approach to conducting co-inquiry resulted in opening up inclusive learning spaces, drawing on a funded research project in which the researcher and students acted as co-inquirers. It argues that the pseudo-physical presence created by synchronic communication enhanced student engagement in meaningful cross-border conversations. It examines how the journey of co-inquiry offered holistic, inclusive learning experiences that embed emotional, cognitive and social learning for all students involved by transforming students’ views about their own sociopolitical identities and perceptions about the other. The chapter concludes highlighting how technology-mediated co-inquiring can innovatively democratise student participation and develop their authentic voice. It also examines the challenges of improving inclusive learning through co-inquiry and sends key messages to practitioners, researchers and policy makers who involve in addressing issues of diversity in HE.

About the Authors

Pages 265-274
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Name Index

Pages 275-285
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Subject Index

Pages 287-295
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Cover of Strategies for Fostering Inclusive Classrooms in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion
DOI
10.1108/S2055-3641201916
Publication date
2019-02-04
Book series
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78756-061-1
eISBN
978-1-78756-060-4
Book series ISSN
2055-3641