If you are still pondering the meaning of access and equity, diversity and inclusivity the information in this post may help. Perhaps think of a response to these questions.

  • How can we provide access and equal opportunity to education for all learners? 
  • What does diversity in learning actually mean and how can you be inclusive?
You may wish to think about this question in general, or more specifically about your teaching area. I will begin with an example.
Giant Panda by Sebastian Bergmann
Once upon a time, some clever persons in the ministry of learning thought online education would be a great idea, because it would provide more access to anytime, anyplace learning for lots and lots of people from all around the world, and it might even make lots of money.

However, along came Giant Panda who wanted to come to class and meet other Giant Pandas, chew some bamboo with friends and learn new things. Giant Panda did not know how to use a computer, nor did he have one at home. He already felt different compared to the humans around him, so found the whole computer thing made him feel even more odd. He regarded computers as a bit of a mystery, best left unsolved. The teacher (Primrose) did not know what to do with Giant Panda, who began to hang around the campus bamboo patch, by himself, more and more. Week by week he got further and further behind with his studies. The teacher decided something had to be done, and talked to one of the other teachers (Rodney) who seemed to have a lot of success with students who were "different".

Rodney suggested asking Giant Panda how he preferred to find out new stuff. Once Primrose realised that Giant Panda liked to talk to others, and study in a group, read, and liked watching DVDs she worked out a plan of action with him - printed materials, peer study groups, DVDs and material in books. So Giant Panda was able to learn by sitting around doing what he loved, talking, and reading, and when he got to know the other students they sat with him to show him the the online materials, and all the exciting things you can do on the Internet. Slowly but surely he began to get curious about online learning, and once he finished Primrose's course decided to give computers a try. He did have an ulterior motive though - finding a female Giant Panda.

The moral of the story: Try and embrace diversity, and find a way to be inclusive so that all your students get the chance to learn. If one method does not work for your students, look at other options - there will be a solution - and someone will be able to help you find one if you ask and share your challenges. There is no "one size fits all" solution, you have to be prepared to offer choice, but it needs to be realistic for you as the teacher, and for the students. Often there is a simple solution, it may just be waiting for you to discover it.


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