22. Promoting Inclusive Education Through the Lens of Learning Disabilities

  • Santhanam E
  • Paulusz W
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Abstract

The Faculty of Engineering in an Australian university collaborated with a central academic/educational development unit to design and deliver a teaching development program for all engineering teaching assistants (TAs). This paper discusses the approach taken to promote inclusive education in engineering in a situation with competing priorities. One of the strategies employed in the program aimed at enhancing the TAs’ awareness of the diversity of learning styles and abilities within their student cohort with particular reference to students with a learning disability or a mental health condition. Research (Mortimore, 2003) has shown that certain learning styles can be characteristic of a learning disability or mental health condition. A standard learning styles inventory tool was introduced so TAs could identify their own preferences and realize the learning environment can be ‘disabling’ when there is a mismatch between a learning preference and teaching style. Through discussions and activities, TAs developed inclusive teaching strategies which could facilitate learning for all students. The program provided opportunities to discuss other issues related to diversity among students and other members of the university community, and effective communication skills. Changes in the attitude of the engineering TAs and faculty towards this program are discussed.

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Santhanam, E., & Paulusz, W. (2011). 22. Promoting Inclusive Education Through the Lens of Learning Disabilities. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 2, 128. https://doi.org/10.22329/celt.v2i0.3216

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