Partner: University of Ljubljana

Creating supportive and inclusive learning environment is necessary for successful involvement of all students into learning processes. Inclusive teaching practice means addressing different needs of students by using an approach that recognises the diversity and variability of learners, enabling all learners to access course materials and fully participate in learning activities and assessment.

While creating inclusive environment for students, we should be aware that some disabilities may be visible, and some unrecognisable for other people. Thus, it is important to always provide opportunities to students to share their needs with teachers and other HEI staff. Students may be comfortable to share their needs with teachers (and other staff), but may be reluctant to disclose them to the whole group of their colleagues and classmates. The ‘Review of Support for Disabled Students in Higher Education in England:

Report to the Office for Students by the Institutefor Employment Studies and Researching Equity,Access and Participation’ emphasises, among other things, that inclusive support in HEIs consists of holistic inclusive approaches together with tailored support for individuals. The emphasis of mental health and wellbeing of all students is essential, as well as regular evaluations of provided support. Gathering feedback from students can be provided through feedback surveys, focus groups, attendance etc. Moreover, empowering students through listening to their voices and including them in creating support services help HEIs to focus on reasonable adjustments and inclusive teaching processes that benefit diverse population of students (Williams, Pollard and Takala, 2019).

In 2018, the Student Partnerships in Quality Scotland (sparqs) published a document ‘Engaging Students in Online Distance Learning’. The author emphasizes that the goal of all learning experiences should be the possibility to develop a professional and respectful conversation between staff and students in order to provide improvements in teaching and learning. Secondly, it is important to provide the possibility for students to be engaged in conversations (with teachers, fellow students and institution) about their learning experience and to stimulate communication between students in order to create a meaningful learning community. Moreover, discussions can be both teacher-led or student-led. Regarding the use of communication tools, the author points out that it is important to use inclusive communication tools that can be used by all students in the group (including students with disabilities), and to use various tools so that communication can be simple and trackable (Varwell, 2018).

Creating supportive learning environment is essential for successful inclusion of all students into learning processes. To properly address diverse student population, it is important to always provide opportunities to students to share their needs.

Find out more: https://placedu-project.com/5-empowering-learners/

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Williams, M., Pollard, E. and Takala, H. (2019). Review of Support for Disabled Students in Higher Education in England: Report to the Office for Students by the Institute for Employment Studies and Researching Equity, Access and Participation. Institute for Employment Studies. Available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a8152716-870b-47f2-8045-fc30e8e599e5/review-of-support-for-disabled-students-in-higher-education-in-england.pdf

Varwell, S. (2018). Engaging Students in Online

Distance Learning. Available at: https://www.sparqs.ac.uk/ch/ODL%20Guidance.pdf

PLACEDU – Meta Platform: Module 5: Empowering Learners.

https://placedu-project.com/5-empowering-learners/