Pairs Talk 22 Jan 08 Jane Seale


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Participatory Approaches to Inclusion Related Staff Development in Higher Education

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Pairs Talk 22 Jan 08 Jane Seale

  1. 1. P articipatory A pproaches to I nclusion R elated S taff Development (PAIRS) Dr Jane Seale, School of Education, University of Southampton
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Provide an overview of a current LATEU funded project that is using participatory approaches to involve students in evaluation of learning experiences and learning provision </li></ul><ul><li>Give examples of the kind of evaluation information obtained using the participatory methods </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on how methods might be used by other colleagues, Schools, Faculties </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why the “inclusion” focus? <ul><li>Inclusion Task Force recommendation to University that was incorporated into the Disability Equality Scheme- “Action Plan” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The need to involve students in the design and delivery of staff development and CPD opportunities in relation to developing inclusive teaching practices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>LATEU: wanted a project that focused on how we can “include” a wide range of students (i.e. not just disabled students) in the learning opportunities that we provide </li></ul>
  4. 4. Defining “Participatory” <ul><li>Working directly with students in the evaluation of their learning experiences and development of staff development materials </li></ul><ul><li>Student input sought throughout the evaluation project </li></ul><ul><li>Early and continual participation of intended users (students) to produce improved teaching practices </li></ul>
  5. 5. Defining “ Participatory” <ul><li>Aims to engage participants in the design, conduct and analysis of “research” with the construction of non-hierarchical research relations </li></ul><ul><li>Participants encouraged to own the outcome by setting the goals and sharing in decisions about processes </li></ul><ul><li>“Nothing about me, without me” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Participatory approaches: related concepts <ul><li>Alliances and partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Co-operation </li></ul><ul><li>Mutual learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>learning about one another- reflexivity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Activity (as opposed to passivity) </li></ul><ul><li>Respect (for all collaborators) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Provenance of method <ul><li>Participatory Design: HCI, Engineering, Art & Design </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory Research: Disability, Inclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. 2 funded research projects Jane Seale involved in: LEXDIS & Concepts of Access </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Higher Education: emergent focus on “Hearing the Student Voice” </li></ul>
  8. 8. PAIRS: Aims <ul><li>Capture “student voices” regarding their learning experiences within the School of Education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use these “voices” to explore whether and how our School of Education programmes (undergraduate and postgraduate) include or exclude students with a wide range of learning needs from experiencing positive or high quality learning opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2. Involve students in the analysis and exploration of these “student voices” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a collaborative partnership whereby students help to develop materials and methods that can be used to help staff in the work towards meeting learning needs and reducing barriers to inclusion. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Phase One: Tell us your “stories” <ul><li>Write or audio-record a one-two page letter to an “imaginary” friend </li></ul><ul><li>Write a diary describing learning experiences on course, over the period of a “typical” week; </li></ul><ul><li>Write a reflective journal that describes a “critical incident” </li></ul><ul><li>Produce a piece of creative writing or art (e.g. poem, picture, sculpture, song) </li></ul><ul><li>Alternatively, opt to be interviewed face-to-face, by phone or by webcam. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus for all stories: learning experiences and whether learning needs have been met </li></ul>
  10. 10. Phase Two: help us understand the stories <ul><li>Formed an advisory group that worked together to decide how we will use the information about student learning experiences to design staff development initiatives in the School. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Ethics <ul><li>Ethical approval from SOE Ethics committee </li></ul><ul><li>Main ethical issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Payment for participation (vouchers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participant approval of edited/anonymised stories prior to use </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Recruitment <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Blackboard announcements </li></ul><ul><li>Personal presentation in lectures </li></ul><ul><li>Different programmes/students responded differently to each method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal presentation worked well for UG, Fnd Degree and PGCE (groups I knew less well) ..time consuming… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email worked well for PGR (a group I work closely with) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blackboard worked well for PGT </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Targeted all programme leaders as gate-keepers </li></ul><ul><li>Also informed Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator & Chair of Academic Standards and Quality Committee </li></ul>
  13. 13. Recruitment <ul><li>20 in Phase 1 </li></ul><ul><li>5 in Phase 2 </li></ul><ul><li>9 students enquired about the project but when sent information sheets/consent forms did not follow through </li></ul>
  14. 14. Phase 1: Participant demographics 5 Male and 15 Female Participants 6 PGR 3 PGT 5 PGCE 2 Undergraduate Degree 4 Foundation Degree
  15. 15. Phase 1: Participant Demographics 9 Part time student 3 International student 6 Non Traditional route 5 Traditional route to uni 0 Ethnicity 4 Family/Caring commitments 1 Disability
  16. 16. Phase 1: Chosen methods for providing stories <ul><li>Letter to friend- 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face interview- 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective Journal/Diary- 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Phone interview- 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Did not anticipate the preference for being interviewed (time consuming transcribing) </li></ul><ul><li>Some participants incorporated work from their course e.g. reflective elements from assessed assignments </li></ul>
  17. 17. Phase 1: The “stories” <ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fnd Degree: Reflective journal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UG: Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PGCE: Letter to a friend </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PGT: Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PGR: Reflective journal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive and negative feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Variance in detail and “passion” </li></ul>
  18. 18. Phase 2: The analysis <ul><li>5 students (also phase 1 participants) consented to being members of an “advisory board” </li></ul><ul><li>Work and family commitments as well as distance (1 student had graduated) meant that all work done via email </li></ul><ul><li>Sent each participant three stories and asked them to code stories for themes or issues that they thought were significant </li></ul>
  19. 19. “ Themes” that have implications for staff development <ul><li>THINGS THAT HELPED LEARNING </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supportive tutors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledgeable and expert tutors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility (choice, options, variety) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing and communicating with peers (peer support) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>THINGS THAT HINDERED LEARNING </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workload issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues around essay writing skills and support </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Have we learnt anything about inclusion? <ul><li>Participants did not explicitly use words (or associated ones) such as “I felt included or excluded”… </li></ul><ul><li>Some themes do reflect practices that we might obviously associate with inclusive teaching </li></ul><ul><ul><li>issues related to communication and peer support (e.g. isolation, belonging) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility is a key principle of inclusive teaching </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Chosen methods for dissemination <ul><li>Write a brief summary report which includes advice and guidelines along with a CD with all the stories on for people to access in their own time </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a wiki which contains the stories, our comments and provides opportunity for staff and students to discuss issues raised etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Give a presentation (Jane plus any PAIRS participant who are happy to co-present) on the issues raised and film the presentation and ensuing discussion so that it can be included in the wiki and on the CD perhaps </li></ul>
  22. 22. What motivated the students to take part? <ul><li>Some had “bees in their bonnet” about particular issues (good and bad) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supportive tutors in a crisis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change in space allocation for PhD students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Placement not enabling learning outcomes to be met </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some students appearing to get away with missing deadlines </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. What motivated the students to take part? <ul><li>For some, it was a curiosity about the methods of the project- wanting to learn from the way it was done </li></ul><ul><li>For some it was a chance to have their voice heard </li></ul><ul><li>Not a lot of evidence to suggest that “payment” alone was a sole driver for participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oiled the wheels and demonstrated commitment on part of evaluator </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Some informal student comments <ul><li>“ I was genuinely impressed with the project methodology that you used for this research. Would it be at all possible for me to reference your work officially within my own EdD work? I would sincerely appreciate being able to reflect on your methodology within my thesis as many aspects of it fit brilliantly with the ideas that I have so far myself. Would this be possible? …I believe it is important to not ask participants in research to do anything that I would not feel comfortable doing myself. I particularly enjoyed being a part of your project and this taught me many things about carrying out my own research upon/with others.” </li></ul>
  25. 25. Some informal student comments <ul><li>Although my schedule is quite busy as you know, I am really interested in taking part of the second phase. It is the kind of experiences and skills that I want to have. I did not come here just to get a PhD and then go back. I want to be involved in any research or courses that might help to improve my educational and research skills. </li></ul><ul><li>It is my pleasure to help you in this project. It opens my mind to many things that may help to improve the organization that I will return to, when I finish my PhD. </li></ul>
  26. 26. What motivates colleagues to facilitate access to students? <ul><li>One colleague used the information sheets that I handed out as an example of good practice in their research methods teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain evaluation data that can use for a variety of QA purposes to illustrate authoritatively, the “student voice” </li></ul>
  27. 27. Lessons Learned: Applying PAIRS method to other Schools <ul><li>Get richer information from motivated, committed students </li></ul><ul><li>Time consuming: not a “one-person” project </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t underestimate the ethical considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymity (of participants AND the teachers they name in their stories) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build in time to “train/induct” participants in analysis methods- I underestimated how hard participants might find this, and how varied their results would be </li></ul><ul><li>Probably best used to explore one big issue across a School or programme once a year or so </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not a replacement for module evaluations, not pragmatic and students will get just as fed up with it as they are with questionnaires </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Mixed Methods? <ul><li>In educational research there is debate about the value of “mixed methods” e.g. quantitative and qualitative </li></ul><ul><li>In educational (teaching) evaluation there is also value in mixed methods: depth and breadth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where participatory methods give us the depth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questionnaire surveys gives us the breadth </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Discussion and Questions
  30. 30. References <ul><li>LEXDIS: Disabled Learners Experiences of E-Learning- JISC funded project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// / </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Concepts of Access for people with learning disabilities: ESRC funded seminar series </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// = project_details.php&id =174 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Hearing the Student Voice”- Escalate funded project </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>