- Supervisors & managers
- Premia - making research education accessible
- Supervising disabled researchers - Premia
- Accessing teaching opportunities
- Accessible sessions
When we offer researchers training for their role as teachers, we need to ensure that the sessions we offer are accessible and inclusive. They will need to address the learning styles and requirements of all the participants, including disabled researchers who may, or may not, have disclosed their disability and whose disabilities may be seen or hidden. If we anticipate students' different learning styles and requirements, it will make the session more accessible and inclusive for all the participants and enable deeper learning. Aligned with this is a legal anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. This means that we cannot just wait until a disabled participant registers for the course to changes to policy and practice. As trainers we need to demonstrate good practice.
Here are some practical suggestions for making training accessible and inclusive:
- Make sure that booking forms encourage participants to disclose their disability so that reasonable adjustments can be made. Make the benefits of disclosure clear
- Application/booking forms need to be accessible. They should be available in alternative formats
- Prepare handouts and slides so that, if needed, they can be sent out to students before the start of the programme. E.g. This will allow for BSL/English interpreters to see an outline of the session and slides so that they are able to interpret effectively; a blind person will be able to read through the presentation using adaptive software before the event; dyslexic people with reading difficulties will have a chance to use their adaptive technology to look through the content of the session
- Look at the accessibility of rooms allocated for sessions. Are they accessible to wheelchair users, participants with mobility impairments? Can people get in and out? Do they have a loop system? Is the lighting good for someone who lip reads?
- Is the furniture arranged in an appropriate way? Could a wheelchair user use the room, including for group exercises? Could a deaf participant lip read in a group discussion? Can a blind person easily enter the room and be guided to a seat? Are there any temporary obstacles e.g. bags, equipment in aisles?
- If you have been alerted to the attendance of a disabled researcher, make sure that you know the implications for you as a teacher. Contact the participant directly to find out and/or the disability service can give advice
- Ensure that the content of the session is inclusive and acknowledges diversity of the student body, include information about disability.
- It is important when planning the content of the programme to think about the delivery and the possible implications for disabled participants. For example, make notes on a white board or flip chart will not be accessible to people with certain impairments, such as blind participants or participants with dyslexia.
- Utilise computer equipment in training delivery and share with participants the benefits of doing so, in terms of accessibility of information.
- Ensure the content recognises diversity and acknowledges disability and provides strategies and practical examples for managing different challenges.
- Making lists of key words for reference would be helpful for all new teachers It is essential that new teachers are also prepared and confident to teach disabled researchers. Making the researchers aware of disability issues which they may encounter in the classroom, laboratory or lecture theatre will equip them to be inclusive in their own work.
See the links on the right hand side for practical guides on different aspects of making teaching and learning accessible.