Examples from Learning and Teaching
Mainstreaming equality and diversity means integrating the values that underpin it into the learning and teaching process.
The following examples from colleges across the UK are largely taken from the HMIE Equality and Diversity Report. Where reports are specific to an institution they are included in the relevant paragraph.
The HMIE Report noted that, in Construction, the teaching team at Adam Smith College champion gender equality and ensure that learning and teaching materials promote wider opportunities in a male-dominated industry.
In Alton College Hampshire, equality and diversity is well managed and promoted. In an access to higher education sociology lesson, students from a variety of backgrounds were able to express their own cultural attitudes to deepen the understanding of other group members. Curriculum managers recognise that there is still work to be done to close the gap in achievement between male students and that of females. Disabled students are well supported and fully integrated into classes.
Angus College undertakes a rolling longer-term curriculum review and planning process, designed to ensure that the curriculum meets all appropriate requirements.
The college has very close links with a wide range of external stakeholders and service providers and uses these links to inform curriculum needs and opportunities, and to ensure that portfolio provision meets local equality and diversity requirements. Portfolio developments are considered annually, with the portfolio itself subject to impact assessment. Equality and diversity requirements are incorporated within course approvals process and are considered in detail as part of scrutiny process.
Anniesland College works in partnership with Glasgow Social Work Department and Refugee Integration Forum to provide specific provision for young unaccompanied asylum seekers. This has contributed to the diversity of the learning experience at the college for all learners. The college has had 388 enrolments from 29 different nationalities over the last six years.
Ayr College promotes equality and diversity very well through a wide range of visual display material and helpful information for staff. The curriculum leaders’ training programme and handbook reinforces their awareness of cultural and diversity issues.
Equalities matters are addressed in a number of appropriate and effective ways, including analysis of case studies and design of appropriate class activities. Support services meet well the needs of learners with additional needs, disabilities and sensory impairments. These services are well promoted to learners and staff to reduce barriers to access and to improve achievement and attainment.
In Barony College learners on special programmes undertake supported work experience placements in different vocational areas of the college, thus promoting inclusion and integration.
The HMIE report on Borders College noted that the college has worked in close partnership with Scottish Borders Council Community Learning and Development (CLD) to rationalise and coordinate services to learners for whom English is not their first language (ESOL programmes). The partners have jointly designed a suite of programmes appropriate to different levels of ability and simplified access routes to them. This has made better use of the limited funding that supports ESOL programmes. The project has been particularly important for the significant numbers of people from Eastern European countries who live and work in the area.
Borders College ensures that all fulltime learners, including those with severe and complex needs, spend part of each week in a work placement. For the vast majority of learners this begins in week one of their programme. In addition, to maintain learner focus on the requirements of the workplace, several college-based classes take place in realistic work situations. Key workers have provided high levels of support for employers as well as
learners, which has contributed significantly to the success of individual placements.
In Carnegie College the HMIE report noted the development of an innovative and integrated programme for learners on intermediate construction programmes focusing on problem solving activities in relation to accessibility. Through these tasks learners developed awareness and knowledge of equality and diversity issues. An online tool has been developed which supports teaching staff delivering the programme.
At Carnegie College the ASPIRE initiative provided realistic work experiences, combined with an integrated approach to the use of renewable resources, for a wide range of learners with additional support needs. Learners worked with a range of partners in the community and used the ASPIRE centre, located within the college’s Ecospace, as well as external facilities. In addition to a range of assistive technologies provided through the BRITE initiative, the ASPIRE centre housed the Iain Karten centre, one of two located in Scotland which provided specialist technologies to meet a wide range of additional needs.
Clydebank College delivers a drama class for learners with profound and complex needs at a community venue in the local area. Through effective planning, the teacher had developed clear goals for the group to achieve over the session. These goals related to a range of improvements, including learners’ concentration levels, listening skills, improvisation, memory and processing skills. Individualised targets were set for each learner which covered these specific goals. These targets were also shared with staff that were supporting the learners during their lessons. Through this approach, all learners had their own learning targets against which their individual improvements could be clearly measured.
Clydebank College worked in partnership with Community Literacy and Numeracy (CLaN) of West Dunbartonshire Council to develop and deliver community based programmes in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Staff had targeted three groups and established a syllabus based on learners’ articulated needs and their contexts. They sourced materials to develop learning around what learners considered useful topics. The groups were “English for parents”, “ESOL literacies in the community” and “English in the workplace”. The college used a team teaching approach involving practitioners with an ESOL and ALN background from both community learning and development and colleges to respond to learners’ strengths and needs. It used St David’s Church in Knightswood and Dalmuir Community Centre as suitable venues to ensure accessibility and a secure learning environment. The college worked in partnership with the church on the social orientation of ESOL learners and in supporting successful integration into the community. Staff used the skills of the local community to provide support to learners in the English for parents group. Health visitors helped to identify prospective learners and advised on adapting content to their needs and interests.
Dumfries and Galloway College has in a place a well-embedded peer observation process. As part of this process, observers review the member of staff’s materials and delivery to ensure they are not discriminatory in any way. The observer receives a copy of the learning and teaching materials for two previous lessons, as well as those to be used during the identified lesson. The observer reviews the materials in relation to a number of areas, including: identification of the use of positive role models; gender bias; compliance of materials with current disability standards; and the promotion of cultural differences. During the lesson, the observer looks for evidence that the lecturer is promoting equality and diversity.
In East Riding College Yorkshire, the promotion of equality and diversity in engineering is good. Tutorial sessions include scenarios to reinforce concepts and stimulate discussion. Work-based learners have regular reviews, with good reinforcement of equality and diversity. The department has been successful in enrolling and retaining a high proportion of female learners on engineering courses.
Elmwood College sought to enhance the quality of the learning experience for learners with profound and complex needs. Teaching staff held daily guidance sessions where learners spent the first 30 minutes of each day discussing their programme. Learners placed Velcro stickers onto an hourly planner which represented the activities they would be doing that day. Teachers discussed with learners the roles and tasks in which they would take part. Learners completed records of the work they concluded successfully the previous day. Home-college diaries were used by both parties to inform parents/carers of the progress being made and for parents/carers to inform the tutor of any domestic issues which may impact on the learner’s learning experience. Speech therapists also used these guidance sessions to explain to the learners how best to communicate with two hearing –impaired learners in their group.
Elmwood College has developed a provision for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Students with this diagnosis can have many differing, individual needs, and the college has developed an Autism Base to allow a more flexible approach to the delivery of their learning. It can also provide current students who require “time out”, a safe, comfortable and secure place to attend if and when their classroom environment becomes overwhelming. A team of specialist support and academic staff work in conjunction with schools, social work and other external agencies to plan & design transition programmes which are tailored to meet the individual needs of students with ASD. These transition programmes are assessed on a regular basis by both the support and academic staff with a view to gradual integration into Dominant Group 18 courses or mainstream courses. Academic staff provide appropriate learning packs for identified progression programmes and Learning Assistants use these to work with the students in the Base on an individual basis. Self esteem, personal presentation, life skills and confidence building are an integral part of the student’s experience in the Autism base.
Glasgow College of Nautical Studies was showcased for excellence by HMIE. The College is aware that sailing has in recent years gained significantly in popularity with blind and partially sighted people. It has been successful in supporting blind and partially sighted learners on the RYA Day Skipper course. Staff work successfully with the college’s Learner Services Unit to adapt their learning and teaching approaches and use a range of assistive technologies. A maritime specialist assist learners in class and staff use Braille teaching cards to support learners where necessary. They also use tactile methods to enhance charts and allow learners to provide evidence of knowledge acquired in ways that suit them.
Learners and staff from Glasgow College of Nautical Studies’ beauty therapy section participated in the Beauty Train as part of Glasgow’s 2009 Subway Festival. Learners provided consultations and beauty treatments to passengers on subway trains. Learners found the experience of working with clients from a variety of cultures and backgrounds complemented very well the experience they receive in the college’s beauty salons.
Read the HMIE full report for Glasgow Nautical College.
Glasgow Metropolitan College had led a project to support staff working with deaf learners. The Furthering Access to College Education for Deaf Students (FACE) group also included Motherwell College and Jewel and Esk Valley College as well as representatives of the National Deaf Children’s Society, the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters, The National School for the Deaf and the BRITE Centre. The FACE Group had recognised that there was a lack of information for staff working with deaf learners in colleges. It also saw a need for better networking among staff. The group engaged with learners and staff to discuss learner needs with the overall aim of identifying ways to improve the support that staff could provide for learners. It had developed a website that provided a range of information to staff on the needs of deaf learners. This information covered aspects of technology, preparation for study, communication services and the learning environment. This site also provided a clear link to the BRITE Centre’s site for learners. The result of this work was improved access to information for staff in colleges and better networking among key interested parties. More generally, the development of the website raised awareness of the issues.
In Hugh Baird College, Merseyside, equality and diversity sessions are delivered as part of the two-week construction induction programmes. As a result of this, learners reported that no incidents of bullying or discrimination occur; they are aware of the college’s policies on equality and diversity. Read the OFSTED report.
Inverness College is committed to meeting the needs of learners from travelling families who are living temporarily in the college’s catchment area. The college has designed a bespoke programme in order to engage the learners and provide them with personal learning skills and skills for employability. Staff and learners have developed trusting relationships. As a result, the families have remained in the area longer than they had planned.
In Jewel and Esk College, most learners are aware of the promotion of equality and diversity within the college and participate in activities designed to raise awareness. In particular, learners in care programmes use a range of materials which successfully promote cultural diversity within the curriculum and undertake innovative projects which challenge diversity issues.
College staff promote equality and diversity well through the use of effective guidelines. College-wide approaches to ensure online learning materials meet equality and diversity responsibilities work well.
The HMIE report for John Wheatley College shows that staff systematically review their curriculum materials to ensure they promote awareness of equality and diversity and avoid cultural bias. The college quality team provides regular support and guidance to course teams to ensure equality and diversity is embedded throughout programmes. Robust curriculum approval processes ensure planning for learning and teaching takes account of the design principles of Curriculum for Excellence. As a result, the curriculum, teaching approaches and learning materials reflect a rich diversity of cultural aspects.
Again in John Wheatley College learners assisted the Glasgow East Women’s Aid Project to use multimedia techniques to portray the experience of violence against women, and to prepare an audio-visual presentation for the National Conference for Violence against Women in Glasgow in 2009. This was an exciting but challenging project for all involved due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. Partnership working was key to its success. Building trust, understanding and confidence was as important as gaining technical skills. The training was delivered by staff from the creative industries department in the college’s multimedia and sound recording suites. The women formed themselves into different learning streams, some working on poetry, songs, stories or the generation of images whilst others concentrated on editing and production. The project was completed in ten weeks and resulted in a high quality presentation. More importantly, the women gained confidence and new media-related skills. The presentation at the conference was very well received by other organisations, and the material is now being circulated to other women’s groups and support agencies in Scotland for training purposes. Learners described the projects as a ‘helpful, comfortable and exceptional experience’.
The OFSTED report for Kendal College, Cumbria shows that equality and diversity are integral to the tutorial programme and the curriculum. An excellent example is of construction students visiting a 200 year-old Buddhist temple to look at different building methods and materials.
In Kilmarnock College the Health and Social Care curriculum team met with the Scottish Government Equality Unit, Scottish Government Healthcare Policy and Strategy Directorate and Women’s Aid to scope out the feasibility of incorporating a programme focused on gender-based violence, for the first time into a health care unit. This would support the Scottish Government commitment to creating a fairer and safer Scotland.
The Higher National Certificate (HNC) Health Care framework incorporates a unit focused on ‘Positive Health Care for Individuals’. This unit contained the appropriate learning outcomes to support a programme focused on Gender Based Violence (GBV).
The partnership supported the development of this project, contributing their time and knowledge. The project was delivered on two phases where the first session provided an opportunity for the students to develop an understanding of GBV, the roles and responsibilities of health care staff and the services available to individuals. During the second session the students considered a variety of case studies in order to promote a values and patient centred approach to care delivery. The Nursing and Midwifery Code of Practice was incorporated into the session to enable students to establish clear professional boundaries and maintain a safe environment in the management of patients who experience GBV.
Learner feedback confirmed the value of this specific aspect of study, and the effectiveness of the work in improving their professional skills and confidence.
In Motherwell College staff in the support for learning department consider it important that learners with additional support needs are offered programmes which fit well with their individual requirements. Staff have therefore developed a taster programme for learners who are considering a full-time college programme when they leave school. This enables the learners to make an informed decision about their post-school choices, and also helps college staff get to know the learners and assess their individual needs through working with them on a series of activities. Motherwell College HMIE report.
In North Glasgow College staff actively promote equality and diversity where appropriate. Through the QELTM Promise, staff promote equality and diversity by utilising relevant examples in curricular materials and classroom activities. They take advantage of the diverse learner population within classes and learner groups to promote cultural diversity. The college hosts events to celebrate the diversity of its learners who respond enthusiastically to share their cultures with others. Effective team working between teaching and support staff results in learners receiving effective individual support which recognises and addresses their specific individual needs. These supportive measures enable learners who have complex needs to engage more fully in learning activities.
North Glasgow College HMIE Report
Oatridge College has a positive approach to inclusion and all college self-evaluation reports contain a section on how to promote equality and diversity. The college is proactive and successful in taking measures to redress the gender balance within specific programmes. For example, within the Certificate of Entry to Farriery which is traditionally a male dominated industry, ten of the 24 learners are female.
The college organises a range of opportunities which promote equality and diversity including study tours and exchange programmes for learners, hosting international events and working with local communities on projects to improve disabled access.
Oatridge College HMIE Report
Learning programmes were offered to learners at Oatridge College using its Suntrap Garden learning centre. One of the teachers had undertaken a diploma in social and therapeutic horticulture as part of his CPD. This training had supported him in the design of a programme of study, using therapeutic techniques to meet the needs and interests of learners with profound and complex needs.
Oatridge College has established a Rural Skills Academy. Learners come from a range of backgrounds including ex-offenders, former drug-users, behaviourally-challenged individuals and those with learning difficulties. They were selected by the charity Access to Industry which also provided practical support such as free transport, costs of lunch and learning materials. This organisation worked alongside the college to co-ordinate a number of other partner agencies to provide personal support for learners while they undertook the programme. The programme had a high and varied practical content and was supported by regular liaison sessions with learners who were encouraged to contribute to the development of the programme. The programme had a very positive impact on learners, with most successfully completing the programme and attaining the award. Most progresses to further study in Oatridge or in other colleges.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig , with technical assistance from Cothrom Ltd, has developed a suite of self teach/self test interactive ESOL exercises based on the “Island Voices” video materials produced by the Leonardo POOLS project. The material has been developed in genuine workplace settings, and is designed to meet mixed level needs of ESOL learners in the community, reflecting aspects of life and work in the Hebrides. Read the HMIE report on the project.
South Lanarkshire College serves a population in which only 1% is from minority ethnic groups. Teaching staff from the Intermediate 1 Early Education and Childcare programme noted that, when discussing ethnic or cultural issues, learners sometimes found understanding concepts of diversity difficult, having no direct knowledge, experience or understanding through schooling or their local neighbourhood. Furthermore, younger learners hold views about diversity, religion and race which have been moulded by these limited experiences, and are often too narrow to support well-informed debate. To address this issue, teaching staff organise an annual field trip to an area in Glasgow with a highly diverse cultural base. As a result, learners quickly become aware of their limited and stereotypical understanding of other cultures and races. They are highly motivated by many of their observations relating to food and art and as a result, have developed a good understanding of cultural diversity, which supports their future learning.
Entry criteria for learners onto programmes for learners with profound and complex needs is a key issue. In Stevenson College, through the experiences gained from running a number of programmes over the last few years, the college has developed transparent entry criteria for their suite of programmes. For some programmes in relation to potential learners, the prospectus states that: “they should be capable of staying in a room, sitting at a table, have a focus and participate in learning activities, have an awareness of others in the group, be capable of enjoying their class and only cause minimal disruption through their behaviour”. For other programmes the criteria include: “should be working at Access levels 1 or 2, can follow instructions, contribute to a group, have the potential to be safe without adult supervision and be willing to learn at a busy college”. Through the publicising and sharing of these stated criteria, it is clear to all concerned which particular programmes are best suited to the individual needs of prospective learners.
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