Developing Ideas for Inclusive Teaching for Equity: Considering Students' Transitions and Academic Oracies

With Karen Gravett and Marion Heron, Surry University (UK)

In this workshop we contest two key concepts in higher education: student transitions and student voice. We present each concept briefly, and then invite workshop participants to reflect on these topics and how they play out in the context of widening participation, and in their own practice. In the last part of the workshop participants will discuss ways in which they allow for transition and diverse linguistic experiences in their classrooms.

Student transitions are a central part of higher education policy and practice internationally. However much of the work within this important area is underpinned by unquestioned and limited assumptions of what transition as a concept might mean. Moreover, too often understandings of transition defer to narratives that sustain a stereotypic understanding of students’ experiences. We discuss how we might begin to shift our understanding of the notion of transition through Meyer and Land’s theory of threshold concepts, and from the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, to contest established understandings of students’ experiences. We propose a new approach to re-theorising and doing transition comprising three intertwined perspectives: transitions as rhizomatic; transitions as troublesome; and transitions as becoming.

A further area of uncontested work in higher education is that of student voice. Recently, the role of student perspectives in informing decisions about learning and teaching has become central in higher education. However, the active participation of design places certain demands on them in terms of their speaking and listening skills. Student voice and participation in dialogue is underpinned by and dependent upon students’ ability to use appropriate linguistic and non-linguistic resources This holds true for students from diverse linguistic backgrounds in both Anglophone and non-Anglophone contexts. We explore the competencies associated with effective communication through a skills framework which recognises the physical, linguistic, cognitive and social dimensions of oracy. We present the Oracy Skills Framework (Mercer et al, 2017) as a tool to support students’ participation in dialogue and decision making.

 

 

Karen Gravett

Karen Gravett is a Lecturer in the Department of Higher Education at the University of Surrey and has worked in Higher Education for over fifteen years in Librarian, Learning Developer and Teaching Fellow roles prior to commencing her present position as Lecturer. Karen’s research focuses on student and academic identities, educational transitions, academic literacies and student-staff partnerships, and she has presented at numerous conferences and published in a breadth of journals. Karen teaches on the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, and the MA in Higher Education at the University of Surrey. She is currently working towards a PhD in Higher Education. Karen is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Visiting Fellow at the University of Suffolk, and a member of the Surrey Assessment and Learning Lab.

Karen Gravett

 

Dr Marion Heron

 Marion Heron is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Higher Education at the University of Surrey. She has worked in higher education for over 30 years in Turkey, Dubai and the UK. Her background is in applied linguistics and she has carried out research in the areas of classroom discourse, classroom interaction, oracy skills, academic literacies and academic writing. She has published in a number of journals focusing on educational linguistics and presented her work at conferences. She teaches on the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, the MA in Higher Education, the MA TESOL and supervises PhD students in language teacher education and applied linguistics. 

Dr Marion Heron