Reflecting on the cultural assumptions we bring to teaching: One strategy for improving classroom interaction

Jane G. Bell, Jane Richardson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Concern about bullying and the significant rise in the number of university students seeking support for emotional distress or mental health issues, together with growing institutional recognition of neurodiversity, prompted the authors to investigate methods of facilitating a negotiated, inclusive classroom culture in which differences are valued and respected. A diversity awareness induction workshop was given to 25 pre-sessional English teachers. Key aims were to facilitate development of a community of practice, enable the sharing of professional expertise, raise participants’ awareness of their own cultural assumptions and to broaden the usual definition of student diversity to encompass neurodiversity and mental health. The research consisted of thematic analysis of 500-word reflections written by teachers in response to the diversity session. The session aims appeared to be largely met and an anonymised summary of the teachers’ rich reflections was shared with all participants. The research prompted development of new assessment criteria for group assessment, improved student induction materials and an enhanced appreciation by the researchers of the importance of affective pedagogy in relation to student-centred learning. While the impact of the session on participants was difficult to measure, it prompted an extended dialogue throughout the pre-sessional programme.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeaningful Teaching Interaction at the Internationalised University
Subtitle of host publicationMoving From Research to Impact
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780429329692
ISBN (Print)9780367350864
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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