Open & Inclusive SIG: 24th March

Open & Inclusive Special Interest Group
Wednesday 24th March 2021
10:00 – 12:00

Join us online for the next Open and Inclusive Special Interest Group, with presentations from Sumeya Loonat and Dan Holloway. Please contact openTEL for joining instructions or for more information about this event.

Presentation 1:
Language and Learning: Breaking Barriers to Success
Sumeya Loonat, De Montfort University

Abstract: This session explores the intersectionality of race and language within a teaching and learning context. There are significant barriers faced by students of colour in higher education and the impact of Covid-19 has contributed to further disparities. Students of colour make up approximately 54% of the student body at DMU; while this current framing of students is homogenous under the contested term ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) there are similar connections between domestic students of colour and international students of colour who use English as an additional language. The mainstream framing of these students is usually viewed through a deficit model which is harmful as it perpetuates negative stereotypes. This session considers alternative approaches which enhance the student sense of belonging. 

As we transition towards a blended model of learning the use of language becomes even more important. We are now communicating in spaces where usual face to face references are not always available.  This session affords tutors the opportunity to revisit their regular, habitual learning and teaching practices. It offers practical measures that tutors can adopt, for example, the careful use of language terminology and the integration of contextualised academic support into programmes. Approaches to facilitate inclusive learning environments for students.

Bio: Sumeya is a Senior International Student Lecturer in the Business and Law faculty at De Montfort University, with over 10 years’ experience teaching English for Academic Purposes. Her role involves personal tutoring, providing academic support for international students and liaising with module tutors on pedagogic issues related to the teaching and learning of international students. Sumeya has a strong focus on co-creating accessible study skills resources used by students and tutors.

Sumeya is currently working towards her PhD, researching the intersectionality of language and race in the context of bilingual students of colour. She is also part of the Decolonising DMU project as a Fair Outcomes Champion.

Link to Recording   

Presentation 2: 
Closing the Gap: mental Ill Health and Financial Hardship in Higher Education
Dan Holloway, Oxford University

Abstract: Mental ill health and financial hardship are inextricably linked. People with mental health problems are 2.3 times more likely to be in financial hardship and those in financial hardship 50% have poor mental health. And the recent report by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Mind the Income Gap, has highlighted a further, ongoing issue – those with a mental health problem face an income gap of 25 to 30%.

And as students, there is yet another issue this insidious relationship creates. Scarcity. The work of Mullainathan and Shafir illustrates the negative effect of financial hardship on our intellectual performance.

What this series of relationships makes clear is that student mental health and finance cannot be treated as separate issues by higher education institutes that want their students to have the very best chance of flourishing. It is vital to both look after students’ mental health and provide the financial support they need, but it is even more important to understand the interconnectedness of these two issues.

Bio: Dan Holloway is a writer, researcher, and mental health activist. He is currently a member of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s Advisory Board and recently worked on the government review of the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form which led to GPs scrapping their fee for writing on behalf of vulnerable consumers. Dan spoke at the 2017 Oxford Disability Lecture and is a regular speaker on mental health and finance.

Dan studied Theology and Philosophy at Oxford and spent four years there studying for a doctorate in early modern taxonomy before dropping out following a breakdown. Now he works as an administrator at Oxford University, where he sits on the Disability Advisory Group. He continues to pursue independent research and was a co-founder of Oxford’s Futures Thinking Network. In 2017 Dan won the Oxford Humanities Innovation Challenge, which led to the creation of the spinout company Rogue Interrobang, helping individuals and institutions to use creative thinking to solve wicked problems.

Link to Recording                                                                                                              Link to Dan’s talk transcript

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