Inclusive Pedagogy: Principles, Policy, and Practice

Message sent on behalf of Sean Bracken

SHARE AND INSPIRE-Sean Bracken-14-12-2015 (doc1) (003)

 Dear colleagues,

 Given the diversity of our student profiles and mindful of the current focus on widening participation and internationalisation in HE, the need to develop inclusive pedagogical practices has never been greater.  

 Please find attached the flyer for our forthcoming Share & Inspire Seminar entitled Inclusive Pedagogy: Principles, Policy, and Practice which takes place on 14th of December from 11:30-14:00, in EE2009. The seminar will provide key information about the diverse teaching and learning context at Worcester, it will provide insights into current great practice across the university and it will enable space to inform future policy through a hands-on seminar.

The IoE will be well represented so please do support your colleagues and sign up for this seminar here (


Sean and Karen.


“I know I am just a student but….’ An education provider’s perspectives in supporting students to raise concerns about professional practice in the context of safeguarding children.” (Area 6)

Claire Richards (NCSPVA) & Catriona Robinson (IoE)

The paper will present the initial findings of a study which aimed to highlight aspects of professional practice dilemmas for students of Early Childhood Studies and Education where they are working with children and families. Consequent to students’ understanding of their safeguarding responsibilities, dilemmas are identified when theory and practice may be at a critical variance. Early Years practitioners and Teachers continue to play an increasingly pivotal role in their safeguarding responsibilities to promote the rights of children. The promotion of the voice of the child is viewed as synonymous to hearing the voice of the student where concerns are identified in the context of professional practice. The university seeks to offer procedural approaches to enable students to raise concerns and access emotional support from staff. The study therefore examines the role and implication for academic staff in this process. The research is a qualitative study and acquired ethical approval from the Institute’s Ethics Committee of the Worcester of University. The results of this research indicate that students do identify a range of anxieties in the context of professional practice and there is a strong message that there is a need for more teaching focus on safeguarding children in preparation for practice. Academic staff have also indicated some concern about the need for support and further training on this issue.

“Engaging undergraduate students in Problem Based Learning: purpose and value” (Area 2)

Michael Reed (IoE)
The research was conducted by three University tutors, over nine month period with a cohort of students (who were also directly involved in workplace practice) in their final year of a BA (Hons) degree. Teaching focused upon integrated working with children and families. It was taught using an approach based upon Problem based learning. (PBL). The research describes the pedagogy and course design underlying the programme and reveals the forms of engagement and learning used by students. The results were intended to improve course design. Ethical approval for the research was gained from a University Ethics Committee. The methodology involved collaborative engagement between researchers and participants using an approach which is explained as negotiated praxeological inquiry. Findings revealed the PBL approach to be a complex interaction between, students and tutors, which was enhanced when underpinned by a clear pedagogic base. The value of a collaborative research approach was identified as enhancing engagement, in particular the way participants transposed learning personally and professionally. The results informed future course design.

“Good writing, clear thinking: ten features of good writing and ten ways of helping students do it” (Area 2)

Mike Webb (IHCA)
This presentation suggests that if you want students to think and argue, writing skills are central: writing does not just communicate arguments, it is largely by writing that we clarify our thoughts and form our arguments. Helping students to plan their assignments is good but not enough: they often need help with constructing their writing too. Features of writing to develop include transitions (signpost sentences, stepping stones), connectives, summary sentences, re-ordering parts of sentences, expanding vocabulary to express nuances, and precis to express ideas succinctly. Helping students to improve their writing can include weekly writing tasks, a bank of writing ‘tips’, submitting drafts and then redrafting, shared / joint writing (writing is not a solitary activity!), adding reflective paragraphs to assignments, etc. Feedback to them needs to be diagnostic e.g. three things to work on, and we should help students engage with that feedback e.g. discussing it in a subsequent module. A variety of professional support is available at UW and partner colleges to help students with their writing, and it is useful to learn more about these opportunities in order to guide students towards them. The ‘action research’ on which this presentation is based was conducted with Sociology students, but the conclusions apply to all courses.

“Enhancing Feedback Practices and Skills Development” (Area 2)

Lucy Cooper, Kirsty Driscoll & Dr. Nicoleta Cinpoes (IHCA)

Feedback is an integral part of the student learning experience and a process which can enhance learning and academic development. Whilst every student will receive a variety of feedback during their time at university it is, perhaps, unclear to them how to then utilise it for academic enhancement and skills development. This project aims to inform student expectations of feedback and skills development with a view to enhance their participation in the use of feedback. This paper will first address ongoing feedback practices through analysing existing literature around the topic, specifically the University’s guide for feedback on written assessments (University of Worcester 2008). Second, it will examine student opinions on the current use of feedback which will be gained through the distribution of questionnaires to level 5 English literature students. Finally, it will demonstrate the benefits of recognising skills development through students’ personal reflections on activities such as peer to peer coaching. Overall, the paper aims to highlight the link between feedback and skills development, and propose ways in which this can be embedded into the learning process for student experience and course enhancement.

“Categorising asynchronous discussion threads: improving the quality of student learning” (Area 2)

Presentation and poster

Dr Anthony Barnett (IoE)

This paper will focus on the generative potential of categorising asynchronous discussion threads as one strategy for improving the quality of students’ learning in a blended learning module. The approach to categorisation is based on social network analysis using intuitively simple descriptors of message posting patterns e.g. passive facilitator, dominant facilitator, unresponsive star and formulaic discussion. The intention is to produce descriptively vivid illustrative examples of the categories and to begin to suggest affordances of the different participation patterns. Looking forward to the beginning of the next module, it is anticipated that discussion during the module of approaches to participating in asynchronous discussion will contribute to effective engagement patterns and deeper learning.

“Making online induction for online students fit for practice – considerations and dilemmas.” (Area 1 &4)

Lisa Lyness, Jakki Watkins & Michelle Rogers (IoE)

This research considers the needs of online students during their induction period. Historically induction for all students has been organised to be in a physical environment, often the learning environment in which they will become familiar over the period of their studies. The program for induction has catered for the specific needs of these students. However, in a changing landscape of learning where more students choose to participate in online programmes the need to reconsider the induction process and program has been highlighted during evaluation from students from their lived experiences (Whitehouse and McNiff, 2006). This paper will consider the work of Bem (1967, 1972) regarding Self Perception Theory and the work of Richardson and Swann (2003) in recognising the correlated data which deliberates the level of online engagement in relation to the perceived learning and satisfaction of students. Data collected from this research will propose a new design for induction programs for online students to recognise their different learning needs which are reflective of their learning environment.

“Students ask the questions: How can an online peer-based question and answer tool be used help students learn programming?” (Area 1&2)

Dragis Vrabie and Dr Paul Golz (WBS)

Peer learning is a well-established tool within HE and a common use is to ask students to create questions for each other. Question creation challenges students to think of potentially difficult areas, increasing engagement with course material, find common mistakes and reinforces correct answers. This study investigates Peerwise: an online tool that allows students to create multiple choice questions for their peers to answer. There is strong evidence that this tool aids learning within HE over multiple subject areas, however little is reported on an optimal delivery modality. In this action research study we used Peerwise in a level 5 programming module to discover i) how best to use the tool and ii) whether, in our experience, it benefitted the students. Crucially we discovered that educating the students in use of the tool was required to set a minimum standard in creating questions. Whilst we observed significant improvement in question quality as well as engagement with the tool based on our intervention, Peerwise was found to be unpopular with students and only 50% of the students reporting that they have benefited from using this tool.

Elaine Walklet (IHS) “Using ‘clickers’ for formative assessment and feedback in first year Psychology students: an action research study” (Area: 1&2)

Elaine Walklet (IHS)

Module feedback for PSYC1430 Introduction to Psychology had previously indicated a lack of engagement in the module and dissatisfaction with support for assessment and feedback. Following consultation with students and the academic literature, a series of formative MCQs using clickers were integrated into the module. The impact of this development was evaluated using a mixed-methods online survey and comparison of module evaluation data, alongside personal reflections. Overall, the clicker MCQs were evaluated positively. Module evaluation data indicated the number of students who agreed they had received helpful feedback on their progress increased from 65% to 94%. Key themes emerging from qualitative data included ‘confirmation of knowledge and promotion of further learning’, ‘peer interaction: pros and cons’, ‘technical and practical barriers’, ‘anonymity increasing engagement’, ‘increased familiarity and confidence for assessment’ and ‘adding interest and enjoyment’. Reflections on the potential for this technology to impact positively on large group teaching will be discussed and areas for further development highlighted

David Seedhouse (IHS) “Values Exchange Community”: An innovative online learning system (Area 1&2)

David Seedhouse (IHS)

The Values Exchange is a unique online teaching and learning tool available to all teachers and students at the University of Worcester. Unlike less powerful and creative e-learning tools, the Values Exchange is a genuine learning community in which students have as much autonomy as teachers. Every VX member enjoys a rich learning experience and has complete access to a massive repository of data. The Values Exchange is suitable for every discipline and is ideal for a values based University.