Topic 3: What are the strengths and weaknesses of current educational practices in terms of equity and inclusion?

As Patience @patiencesd states, we can meet a diversity of needs by diversifying the mode of delivery. Open and distance learning can fit with people’s work and family commitments, especially for older learners. Cath @CathB notes that technology itself can become a barrier for some people, due to lack of reliable internet connection, or having to share a device. Diversity includes gender, socio-economic status, health, age, culture, religious belief, educational background, disability and many other factors. Each student may have multiple factors or needs. All of these are important, although gender equality in education is a key global challenge that has considerable impact upon wider society.

This new topic is an opportunity for us to continue to explore this area. Themes and ideas from here will contribute to the discussion at the PCF9 forum in September.

Looking from the student perspective, to what extent are we meeting the needs of a range of learners?

Are students empowered and given agency to succeed?

What successes and challenges can we identify from our own practice or elsewhere?

Many thanks, Alice @AliceP. Before I comment on strengths, permit me to mention one to two weaknesses.

One weakness in practice is implementing equity and inclusion mainly in relation to special education (particularly education for the physically challenged).
Another is highlighted in this excerpt from Haug, P. (2017). Understanding inclusive education: Ideals and reality. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 19(3), pp. 206–217. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/15017419.2016.1224778:

Most nations still practise a dichotomy between special and ordinary education within the concept of inclusion…A consequence is that placement has become decisive and has contributed to the notion that inclusive education is mostly about how to organize teaching. This reductionist process threatens to narrow the complexity of inclusive education to a single-oriented concentration on students’ placement as the only element…

Do we agree to these?

that is one of the barrier. But i have observed that most of the people let the task done by a person who is technology literate and don’t take any measure to acquire that knowledge and gives thousands of excuses for that. :slightly_smiling_face:

It can be there. But if the time management is well, wont be any issues. I have the practical experience that in the year 2000 I was working in a agricultural faculty in a rural area. Three of us had one branded computer for clerical work, communication (email over a dial-up connection) and design a biannual journal. And now, in my present place there is a fiber optic backbone for internet and all Core i5 or higher performance devices, but most of the people are not taking the advantage of that and just stick with social network and other sources of entertainment. :grinning:

Though this is not present in my place (according to my knowledge), I know this is a serious issue in some of the Asian countries. In my future researches i am willing to come across a solution to solve the issue in the community of muslim woman related to less opportunity in education after maturity and marriage.

We can discuss these further during the conference.

@udochukwu.njoku thank you for raising these important points, and for the Haug (2017) reference. I was waiting to see whether others would respond. Haug is critical of the focus upon the placement of the student (in the classroom or segregated), which I’d suggest is about organisational structures. Instead, my reading is that he prefers a focus on the quality of the educational experience for every student, i.e on the process of education. I do agree that this is a huge challenge and there is no easy solution.

Thinking about open and distance education, the situation is just as challenging, although the focus may be different again. For me, inclusion needs to be built into the learning design from the start. For example, when we put an audio file online, we produce a transcript for hearing impaired students. This transcript may be used by any student, including those who do not have audio on their computer, or prefer to read than to listen. Also it may be used by dyslexic students who can read and listen at the same time to aid their comprehension. By providing different modes of delivery for the content, we meet the needs of a wider range of students.

This is quite a simplistic example, and as I’m sure you know, use of technology can be more inclusive in deeper ways, although I think Haug’s points still apply. Simply adding technology to the situation without consdering the learning process is less likely to help, in my experience.

This paper from Zagona et. al makes some interesting points:
Teachers’ Views of Their Preparation for Inclusive Education and Collaboration
DOI: 10.1177/0888406417692969

@cnaleen, yes this is familiar to me!
Maybe we can see this as a challenge of student motivation to acquire the technical skills and confidence. Some years ago, I interviewed a student who was very timid about learning online. So I asked whether she used the computer for anything else. Apparently, she had booked a holiday and used her credit card, which is more technically difficult than anything we did in the course. Her teenage son had shown her how to do it. Motivation was a big factor, plus the presence of someone she trusted to help her.

Yes, if you have good time-mangement, then sharing a dcomputer is fine. Here in the UK, in some households there can be an unequal power relationship, so a student does not have a fair share at the computer.

That’s an interesting point. I wonder whtehr people have not realised what is possible, or whther they prefer to continue with what is familiar?

See you in September :slight_smile:

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Yes. All I want to do is to motivate them and show them the immense possibilities there.
On the other hand, I have an intention to become a motivational speaker in the future. :smile:

Once there was a colleague in OU who was about 56 years old and he often reluctant to check his email too. He had a laptop at home but he used to keep his username and password at a nearby net-cafe and ask the owner to give him a hard copy of the email. I had to give him a call when there is an email from OU and then he called the net-cafe and get the hard copy. But, later i was able to make him to do it alone using the laptop by sending him some lengthy PDFs that costs too much to print. :laughing::laughing:

That’s what 3Play Media and some others call ‘Accessibility’, which is very important for ICT in education.

:sparkling_heart: Cheers!

Many people really need lots of persuasion and motivation by modelling to realize possibilities. Those of us who’re very concerned have so much sacrifice to make, indeed.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

Powerful trick! :smile::smile::smile:. Often, we need to think out of the box. Take another round: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Yes. Unfortunately that is the least considered in most education systems that either with spoon-fed students or pressurized ones with heavy workloads.


This week I submitted my research entitled, The Challenges faced by Indigenous Fijian teachers when teaching in English. I advocated for PCF9 online forum to teachers in Fiji to join in and contribute to the discussions because the Sub Themes are totally related to the thinking behind the education reform in Fiji’s ageing education system.

I realised that the GAP in the education system is leaving both the teachers & students short.
They have been so close for such a long time with tons of misinformation from Unions that they have forgotten about RESEARCH & Development to develop a Culture of Inquiry and see what works and what didn’t.
This is the way it is done hence students continue through the cycle without developing a culture of inquiry.
It is important to develop a culture of inquiry across all levels of education.

developing a culture of inquiry through the Teacher Education Programme to Communities

#more scholarships on Research & Development for classroom teachers.
I have enjoyed reading through discussions and thoughts on this topic.
Vinaka
Sera.

WOW. It is so great to hear about it. Wish you all the best.

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