Improving Disabled Students' Learning
Experiences and Outcomes
By Mary Fuller, Jan Georgeson, Mick Healey, Alan Hurst, Katie Kelly, Sheila Riddell, Hazel Roberts, Elisabet Weedon
Routledge – 2009 – 210 pages
Series: Improving Learning
How do disabled students feel about their time at university? What practices and policies work and what challenges do they encounter? How do they view staff and those providing learning support?
This book sets out to show how disabled students experience university life today. The current generation of students is the first to move through university after the enactment of the Disability Discrimination Act, which placed responsibility on universities to create an inclusive environment for disabled students. The research on which the book is based focuses on a selected group of students with a variety of impairments, as they progress through their degree courses. On the way they encounter different styles of teaching and approaches to learning and assessment. The diversity of their views is reflected in the issues they raise: negotiating identities, dealing with transitions, encountering divergent and sometimes confusing teaching and assessment.
Improving Disabled Students’ Learning goes on to ask university staff how they experience these new demands to widen participation and create more inclusive learning climates. It explores their perspectives on their roles in a changing university sector. Offering insights into the workings of universities, as seen by their central participants, its findings will be of great interest to all practitioners who teach and support disabled students, as well as campaigners for an end to discrimination. Crucially, it foregrounds the views of disabled students themselves, giving rise to a complex, contradictory and always fascinating picture of university life from students whose voices are not always heard.
PART 1 WHAT IS THE ISSUE WITH DISABLED STUDENTS’ LEARNING? 1. Introduction PART 2: WHAT OUR RESEARCH STUDY TELLS US 2. Managerialism and equalities: tensions within widening access policy and practice for disabled students in UK universities 3. Listening to disabled students on teaching, learning and reasonable adjustments 4. Assessing disabled students: student and staff experiences of reasonable adjustments 5. Curriculum and pedagogy: challenges and dilemmas for teaching staff 6. Identity work: ways of being a disabled student in higher education 7. The idea of fitness to practise: discourses of disability and the negotiation of identity in initial teacher training 8. Troublesome transitions? Disabled students’ entry into and journey through higher education 9. Organizational structures for disability support: contradictions as catalysts for change PART 3: WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF OUR STUDY OF DISABLED STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCES? 10. Reflections and conclusions
Mary Fuller is Professor of Education at the University of Gloucestershire and Director of the research project on which this book is based. She has worked as lecturer and researcher at the universities of Bath, Bristol, Reading and Oxford. Her research interests are in gender, race and disability in educational settings, areas in which she has published extensively.
Jan Georgeson is Senior Lecturer in Early Years Professional Status at the University of Chichester. She has worked on a variety of research projects investigating disability and disadvantage, with particular interests in organizational structure, interactional style and sociocultural approaches to pedagogy.
Mick Healey is Director of Centre for Active Learning, University of Gloucestershire. He is internationally known for his research into teaching and learning in higher education. He is a National Teaching Fellow and a Senior Fellow of the HE Academy.
Alan Hurst is a trustee of Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities. He has published books and articles, lectured and led workshops on disability in higher education in many countries. He has also worked with government agencies to develop and monitor policy and provision for disabled students.
Katie Kelly received a first degree at the University of Gloucestershire and after working in a disability rights organization was Research Assistant to this project, focussing on data gathering for the student case studies. She has returned to working in the voluntary sector.
Sheila Riddell is Director, Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity, University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include: equality and social inclusion, with particular reference to gender, social class and disability in education, training, employment and social care. She has published extensively in these areas and sits on policy advisory committees on disability and equal rights.
Hazel Roberts has a research studentship at the University of Gloucestershire. Her doctoral thesis investigates the role of support workers in the learning of disabled students in higher education. She has worked as a researcher on the project on which this book is based.
Elisabet Weedon is Deputy Director, Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity, University of Edinburgh. Her main research interests are in the area of adult learning. She is currently researching lifelong learning in Europe and learning in the workplace and has published research in this area.