Sunday, 6 July 2008

Participatory approaches to inclusion related staff development: reflections on processes and outcomes

On June 25th I co-presented a paper with Fani Theodorou ( a PAIRS participant) at the Instiutional Research Conference, hosted by Solent University. Fani and I offered our reflections on the success and value of the participatory evaluation project- PAIRS. Our slides can be found at this website:

In terms of my own reflections on the value of participatory projects to evaluate the student learning experience in higher education I offered the following reflections:

1. The identified issues were no surprise
  • Other evaluation methods had picked these up
  • Rather disappointing in a sense that the participatory did not reveal anything new or unexpected

2. What was surprising was the evidence about the impact of identified issues on students:

  • Self-esteem, confidence, identity
  • Academic AND home lives

Finding out more about this IMPACT has made the project worthwhile for me.

The audience responded well to our presentation. Fani did a fantastic job of presenting her material. I also learnt that she had tried to volunteer to take part in other research projects in the university only to be told that they only wanted native English speakers. It got be thinking about how exclusionary exclusion criteria for research projects are, in terms of how they make prospective participants feel when they are barred from participating. This is something I think is underestimated in research. For the LEXDIS project, we thought very carefully about this and tried hard to put recruitment procedures in place that did not make disabled students feel excluded or rejected.

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