TEACHING REFLECTIVELY IN HIGHER EDUCATION

This year-long module is part of the MA in Higher Education Practice at Keele University. I was invited to contribute to teaching on the module in 2019–20 and 2020–21 as a result of my leadership in organising the Trans Youth and Education: National Issues and Solutions Conference (June 2019) and role in co-creating the History UK Pandemic Pedagogy Handbook. 

WHAT ARE THE MODULE AIMS?

The module aims to support staff in reflecting on and developing their academic practice as educators and researchers in UK Higher Education. 

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Critically evaluate their own teaching including use of feedback from learners and peers to develop appropriate approaches, use of technologies, methods and theory ​

  • Critically evaluate their approach to developing an effective learning environment and giving feedback to learners based on an understanding of how students learn

  • Explain their teaching-related decisions based on an understanding of how students learn

  • Demonstrate, through discussion of their teaching, their understanding and commitment to promoting equality and respect for diversity

  • Demonstrate a values-driven approach to teaching and supporting learning, including those values listed in the UKPSF​

MY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

I provided educational training to staff members by designing and delivering teaching materials that focused on the development of equitable and student-centred teaching practice. I used scholarship, along with reflections on my own pedagogic practice and research, to provide advice and guidance on teaching students with disabilities (in a session on facilitating student engagement) and transgender students (in a forthcoming session on diversity).

The first session on facilitating student engagement took place in December 2019. I designed and delivered a presentation on the 2010 Equality Act and preparing accessible learning environments. 

 

I provided participants with some examples of anticipatory actions they can take to foster and promote equity in their own teaching practice, with an emphasis on removing barriers to learning and making sure that classroom spaces are accessible to all students. These actions include:

  • Educating themselves on accessibility and teaching by reading relevant books and undertaking additional teaching modules and courses (if you are a staff member at Keele then you can access many of these modules and resources online through the Keele Learning Pool and the Academic Development page).

  • Viewing the room at the start of the semester before teaching starts to make sure the space is accessible; if the space is not completely accessible, request a room change to a more accessible room (e.g. on the ground-floor with wide gaps between tables to enable students with wheelchairs and other mobility aids to access and navigate the room).

  • In the event that room changes are not possible, try to arrive at sessions with enough time to rearrange furniture into clusters (rather than narrow rows) so that everyone can access and move about the room more easily. Another option is to contact Keele Estates and ask for assistance as necessary.

This list is by no means exhaustive and there is a lot of information freely available on the Internet that is geared toward advising educators on equitable teaching methods.

The session on diversity has been planned and set readings distributed, but postponed due to COVID-19. The session will take a workshop format, which I will co-facilitate with PhD Candidate and Women of Keele Educate activist Sophia Taha.

 

The workshop will focus on two intersecting strands of critical pedagogy. The first strand, led by myself, relates to teaching trans and non-binary students and the second strand, led by Sophia, focuses on decolonising curricula. Sophia and I will bring these two strands together to encourage participating educators to identify and practice an intersectional approach to teaching in ways that are capable of respecting students' lived experiences so they feel safe and supported in the classroom. 

In addition to contributing to the above teaching on the module, I will provide consultation to participating staff on their written assessments, with an aim to support curriculum development in compliance with the University's regulations surrounding equality, diversity, and inclusion.

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© 2023 by Aimee Merrydew