Supporting the learning experience of BAME students

This post was created by PGCert participants in Team Jupiter as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to evaluate technologies that could help students with specific learning needs to learn more effectively.

Richard

There is no specific technology that can be viewed as promoting inclusivity for the BAME student community. This would arguably be counterproductive and separatist, as is the flawed acronym of BAME itself.

Dr Gurnam Singh, Associate Professor of Equity of Attainment, Coventry University, has produced a 6-point guide A 6-point guide for assisting BAME students during the COVID crisis. Point 5 on his list is the problem of unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias

Issue: Evidence shows that BAME students face a variety of conscious and unconscious discriminatory practices in classrooms. For example, BAME students’ behaviour is more likely to be rated harshly compared to similar behaviour of white students; staff tend to express more positive and neutral speech toward white students than toward BAME students. These biases can be replicated online.

Mitigations: It is necessary to explicitly design out biases and take time to develop, implement, and evaluate strategies for promoting equitable learning environments. Creating anonymous discussion forums can enable the collection of real-time data/feedback on these strategies, as well as empower students if done sensitively. “

Supporting Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) students during the COVID-19 crisis – a short guide.

Although point 3 was Digital Spaces I did not feel it offered anything that would help BAME students over any other students. As a jumping point we decided to examine point 5 and look into the delivery of Unconscious Bias Training which incorporates aspects of BAME inclusivity.

“Unconscious bias training” is being scrapped for civil servants in England, with ministers saying it does not work. The training, intended to tackle patterns of discrimination and prejudice, is used in many workplaces. The government says there is no evidence it changes attitudes – and is urging other public sector employers to end this type of training. But race equality campaigner Halima Begum said the government “mustn’t backtrack on anti-racism training”.

Seeing as how the govenrment standpoint has recently been in the news on scrapping Unconscious Bias Training for civil servants, on the basis it does not change attitudes, it is the focus of our examining.

Having gone through the training program again – admittedly having done so before but not remembering every point. BAME students were mentioned, but the overall test involved learning about Unconscious Bias, the different aspects of it such as Implicit Association and Affinity Bias.

The training was divided into three categories:
1) What is Unconscious Bias
2) Unconscious Bias in Higher Education
3) Workplace

The Higher Education section was divided into
1) Open Day
2) Admin (personal statements, student backgrounds and fairness)
3) Assessment

The program was useful and informative, but I did actually want to learn more specifically into BAME category, probably because of the team task…

The delivery was addressed as “it will only take 15 minutes”… whereas realistically it should be given more opportunity.

The information was delivered easily, with bitesize info that was digestible. It did not include video, but rather a link to an hour long talk from google HR, which wasn’t appealing to watch as an unexpected link. I personally would have preferred clips within the presentation.

Common sense will get you to the end of the questions with a decent result but it does not suggest much in the way of making it implicated more throughout the year.

Going through the experience I felt it would be better implemented throughout the academic year, perhaps with integration into Professional Development Reviews, as the occurrence of a one off presentation does feel rather mandatory and tick box.

Overall it was still very informative and well delivered. I suspect there may be other ways to capture the attention of the viewer or make it more about personal experience.

Steve

“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non racist. We must be anti-racist” Angela Davis

Following a recent racist incident at the college I teach at this term with year 1 HE students, I decided to use this task as an investigation into seeing what assistive technology there was that could be used to help BAME students feeling that they were in a safe environment for learning when they study at university.

Here are some of the current technologies I found that address this issue. I discuss and show them in our video.

Marshall E-Learning Consultancy who are specialists in diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias, have been praised for their Let’s Talk About Race in the workplace course written by Maggie Semple OBE, diversity consultant, businesswoman and entrepreneur.
She says “The course tackles the issue of race head-on and talks about white privilege, micro-aggressions and unconscious bias in a connected and informative way. I think that this makes this resource stand out from other offerings. We are clear that this is not a general D&I programme.” (Learning News.com 2020). Marshall also has an extensive Youtube channel with video courses on Unconcious Bias, Diversity and Inclusion, and Diversity and Inclusion in HE.

PBS Learning Media have a series of videos for tools on anti-racist teaching. It’s US centric but have some helpful discussions around how teachers can evaluate media to ‘provide context for anti racist practice.

Netflix
Netflix is currently featuring a curated list of films, documentaries and series about the black experience https://www.netflix.com/gb/browse/genre/81299227?so=su

Google
Google Maps is working towards adding a “Black owned business” attribute in Maps.

Carrd
Carrd is a platform that provides a simple, free way to build one-page sites. It has been used for Black Lives Matter protest pages.

Siri
This Siri shortcut has been designed by an iPhone user at Reddit for use if pulled over by the police:

‘Just open the following URL in Safari once you have Shortcuts installed:
https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/a63fc73463294b2db9a5f79237b1b03b
This shortcut may be useful when getting pulled over by the police.

It pauses any music that may be playing, turns down your brightness and volume, turns on Do Not Disturb, and sends a message to the contact of your choosing letting them know you’re being pulled over and what your current location is. It then opens your front camera and starts a video recording so you have a video record of being pulled over.

Once you stop the recording it sends a copy of the video to a contact you specify, puts volume and brightness back to where they were, turns off Do Not Disturb, and gives you the option to send to iCloud Drive or Dropbox!’’

There’s a very useful website set up by a group of educators, students, academics and activists based in Scotland called the The Anti-Racist Educator. It’s got a large range of information and assistive technology all aimed at building an educational system that is ‘equitable, free from racial injustice and critically engaged with issues of power, identity and privilege.’ Their free resources for educators and students include:

  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Anti racist resource for educators
  • External resources
  • Glossary

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