Session planning

Resources need to be available before session for pre-reading; student preparation; vocabulary. Students need an opportunity to compensate for language/listening/attention/working memory difficulties.

Pre-session

Action: Be available 15 mins. early and check the room layout and equipment.

Problems related to pre-reading can be resolved then; those leaving early can declare it.

International students can feel self-conscious speaking up in front of peers so may prefer one-to-one and email contact.

In-session

Are the teaching methods used appropriate to the needs of all students? Are they varied, active and inter-active?

Actions:

Open with an overview of your session – most learners need the big picture when learning.

Treat all students equally, fairly and with unconditional positive regard.

Offer equality of opportunity so that the needs of all students are addressed.

Address the needs of those with frail working memory when:

  • giving instructions (always duplicate spoken instructions by the same instructions written down and check instructions are understood);
  • in discussion (repeat/summarise questions asked and points made);
  • in lectures (provide handouts in advance);
  • in tutorials (encourage recording);
  • in demonstrations (films loaded up for review later and handouts in advance);
  • giving spoken feedback (provide a written summary and encourage the student to record the discussion).

Avoid jargon and colloquialisms.

Recognise cultural differences and ensure IS are encouraged to share views and knowledge.

Use/ask for global examples, not just European/UK perspectives.

Ensure presentations, learning materials are inclusive, i.e. use a sans serif font (Verdana, Arial, Tahoma) on lecture/demonstration notes and PowerPoint presentations (minimum 24pt); ensure PowerPoints have a good balance of text and images. Ensure images and relevant text are closely connected visually.

Always have soft pastel backgrounds. Avoid using black on white (or white on black) for all materials.

Ensure that only one person is talking in discussions so that all students can follow what is going on.

Avoid asking students to read aloud in class.

Only ask students to read in class if you can fully justify it, e.g. because you want to promote a culture of reading. Slow readers, readers who need to read several times to extract meaning may find themselves excluded from the discussions that follow because they did not complete the reading task.

Always duplicate spoken instructions by the same instructions written down and check instructions are understood.

Ensure tools, equipment, materials and space meet the needs of all students (e.g. wheelchair users, those with hearing impairments, those on the autism spectrum).

Can the space be easily traversed by a wheelchair user and are their disabled toilets easily available?

Is there a hearing loop installed in the space?

Are new technologies used to further meet the needs of a diverse student body?

Is there anything else that could have been done to the space or learning resources to make them more inclusive?

Ensure all inclusive measures are made available to all.

If there is a change of time or room arranged, check everyone knows about it. (Unexpected changes particularly affect those on the autism spectrum.)

Give regular breaks.

Post-session

Action: Give 10 mins. question time opportunities for students to ask/clarify discreetly; reflect on session.

International students appear to prefer one-to-one and email contact.