Inclusive Ed Series
01 Mary Dracup
20
MARCH, 2019
Good Practice
Teaching & Learning
Inclusive Education
Dr. Mary Dracup, Inclusive Education Project Lead, Diversity & Inclusion and also Casual Senior Researcher, Centre for Research in Assessment & Digital Learning.
I lead the Inclusive Education Project, in Diversity & Inclusion, with my colleague Janet Watson. This project aims to make inclusive education routine practice across the university. For most people, the most obvious manifestations of our small team’s work are the popular Inclusive Education Community of Practice events and the rich array of resources in the Inclusive Curriculum Capacity Building website. Another important part of what we do is embed inclusive education principles and practices into University policies, strategies, faculty guidelines and so on. In 2019, we’re focusing our efforts on improving the inclusivity of assessment.

I love my job! It makes so much sense to me to put my efforts towards improving educational experiences and outcomes for those students who are less advantaged, and it’s great to work with people across the University and in my unit with similar values. It is also very interesting and intellectually challenging work. I know from experience that it’s not an easy task to design learning experiences that offer an equivalent opportunity for success for every type of student, but at least we can work on removing barriers and supporting, inspiring, resourcing those staff and students who are giving it a go.

Deakin University’s Inclusive Education Principles.
Download an alternative text format of this image at Deakin’s Inclusive Education Principles (DOCX 14KB)
I have found in conversations with people about how to make education more inclusive that an important obstacle is simply that people who are privileged often have trouble noticing their privilege, they (we) just don’t recognise the many ways in which others don’t have the same easy access to what they need to make their life fulfilling. This could be because of physical distance, language, prejudice or simply assumptions about what they might be able to do or interested in doing.

In a higher education context, I’ve found a useful way to check this is to always remember to consider who might be disadvantaged by any decision I make: whether it be in an assessment or learning activity I’m designing, a resource I’m selecting, an anecdote or example I’m using to make a point, how I’m setting up groups, even the language I’m using. In many cases there are people who could potentially be excluded in some way, and then it’s important to remove those exclusions, one by one. In particular, this means taking opportunities to redress the significant disadvantages that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face.

“it’s not an easy task to design learning experiences that offer an equivalent opportunity for success for every type of student, but at least we can work on removing barriers and supporting, inspiring, resourcing those staff and students who are giving it a go”
As I said, it’s not always easy to set up genuinely equivalent learning, socialising and assessment opportunities for all students, and we all need keep to learning from our students themselves and each other. Our ICCB website provides many useful tips, exemplars and links; and our periodic Inclusive Education Community of Practice events provide opportunities to get together with colleagues on one’s own campus to learn from an expert and chat about things that are working – or not – to give all our students an equivalent chance for success
Useful Resources on Inclusive Eduction:

Inclusive Curriculum Capacity Building Website

https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/iccb/

Inclusive Education Community of Practice Events

https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/iccb/community-events/news-events/

Inclusive Education Principles

https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/iccb/about/deakin-inclusive-education-principles/

 

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