What is inclusive practice?
The following definitions are useful in thinking about inclusive practice:
The Equality Challenge Unit describes inclusive practice as 'an approach to teaching that recognises the diversity of students, enabling all students to access course content, fully participate in learning activities and demonstrate their knowledge and strengths at assessment. Inclusive practice values the diversity of the student body as a resource that enhances the learning experience' (Equality Challenge Unit, 2014).
Meanwhile, inclusive teaching and learning has also been defined as 'the ways in which pedagogy, curricula and assessment are designed and delivered to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. It embraces a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others' (Hockings, 2010).
These definitions can be very useful to us in giving us a shared understanding of the concept of inclusive practice as we engage in the process of reviewing our curricula.
We need to evolve much of our practice away from a deficit model towards an inclusive model where our discourse is underpinned by the concept of entitlement (that all students are entitled to a high quality learning experience) rather than reacting to 'need'. In other words, we should be adapting to students rather than expecting students to adapt to us.
Equality Challenge Unit (2014) Equality and diversity for teaching staff in colleges
Hockings, C. (2010) Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education: a synthesis of research . York: HEA