- Decolonising learning development through reflective and relational practice
- Widening Participation in the Medical School
- Song of the Day
Decolonising learning development through reflective and relational practice
By Julia Bohlmann
This opinion piece has been published in the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education in September:
The Decolonising the Curriculum (DtC) movement questions the very values we take for granted as educators. It questions our identity, the knowledge we have internalised and are committed to reproduce, the way we teach our students and how we assess them (Shahjahan et al., 2021). In so doing, DtC also questions our role as learning developers.
Certainly, our work provides an important access point to higher education, particularly to students from non-traditional backgrounds. Working specifically with international students, my professional practice as a learning developer often is about explaining why we – in the European-North American context – value such things as intellectual ownership, persuasive writing and active learning. Learning development to me then is akin to a translation practice: I translate academic culture and conventions and support international students to better meet the expectations of the (Western) academy. But I grapple with the limitations and duplicity of this remit, especially in light of the DtC movement.
Widening Participation in the Medical School
Dr Nana Sartania (University of Glasgow) and Dr Clare Ray (University of Birmingham) talk about widening participation and medical schools focussing on the following question:
- Who do we regard the widening participation students? Is this categorisation adequate/justified? Are we missing any students who need help but are not targeted, based on the current criteria the universities use? –
- As a society, do we need to try to widen access to traditionally elite University subjects such as Medicine, Law etc?
- If pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds want to go and study Medicine, what barriers do they face? Is that different from pupils from privileged backgrounds?
- What help is available to them to overcome the barriers? (from parents, schools, target medical schools)? The help they get from med schools – is that enough for them to do as well as their privileged peers?
- Once the students gain a place on the course, are they on a level playing field?
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