Edited by Helen Walkington, Jennifer Hill and Sarah Dyer
Recognising that the awareness of differential outcomes among academics varies dramatically within and between institutions, we argue that addressing differential student outcomes is a key challenge for higher education. The causes of long-standing differences in students’ attainment are clearly multi-dimensional and complex (HEFCE, 2015). However, habitually teaching staff rely on a model of student-deficit to ‘explain away’ these gaps, arguing that students from particular backgrounds do not have the appropriate facility to do well in higher education. However, students’ report that factors such as the user-friendliness of their curricula, and the extent to which they feel supported and encouraged in their daily interactions, also play an important part (Mountford-Zimdars et al., 2015). This chapter argues that to ensure an equality of opportunity for all students in higher education, teaching staff in academic disciplines like geography must reflect more robustly on the inclusiveness of their own curriculum and the (unwritten) assumptions they bring to their teaching and learning practice (Hughes, 2016). We argue that an ‘inclusive’ curriculum is crucial in ensuring that all students are connected to their learning and therefore more likely to succeed. In this chapter, we apply an Inclusive Curriculum Framework (McDuff and Hughes, 2015), which identified three principles of inclusivity, to a case study of rural geography teaching and provide some evidence of its efficacy.
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