Teaching @ Sydney

October 2012

Inclusive Learning and Widening Participation

In the Inclusive Learning and Widening Participation session participants gained practical strategies for inclusive teaching and learnt about widening participation projects from student and staff presenters from five faculties.

Students from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Virginia Ricketts, Brian Lam and Allison Grech spoke about the student-facilitated peer-mentoring program they have been running under the guidance of Dr Melanie Nguyen. Because of its results in helping first year students feel included and supported, the program will be expanded next year through the Belong@FHS program to cover the entire first year cohort in the Faculty.

Pre-service teachers from the Faculty Education & Social Work, Ashlee Horton and Karina Scott, in presenting perspectives on inclusive learning within their degree programs, included a video of current students’ views of inclusivity. Several units of study have helped Ashlee and Karina create supportive learning environments for their students.

Dr Stuart Fraser, who teaches Physiology, Anatomy and Histology in the School of Medical Sciences, includes students in assessment design. In a lab project called ‘MasterCell’, students research and design their own protocols to turn stem cells into other types of cells. Stuart showed an image of a beating heart cell created by one of his students. When she looked down the microscope and saw the cell, the student exclaimed, ‘This is the best prac ever!’

Student Bella Osborne, had participants out of their seats singing the ‘loose tooth’ song, complete with actions, as she did with students at Bexley Public school. Bella and other first year students worked with three COMPASS schools in Dr Jennifer Rowley’s "Music learning Through Community Service" project which culminated in a concert at the Con where together uni and school students performed one of their own collaboratively-created compositions.

Dr Sandra Seno-Alday presented findings from her project, ‘Work Integrated Learning in Business education’ which reveal that industry wants greater emphasis on work-integrated learning programs that are aligned with the curriculum.

The session was co-organised by Mary Teague and Amani Bell, of the Social Inclusion Unit and ITL which together have established the Widening Participation Scholars Network to support staff with an interest in widening participation. Click here to join and here for web-based resources.

For more details on the session, please click here.