Avoiding stereotypes and celebrating diversity

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Curriculum content can, often unwittingly, present and perpetuate stereotypes. Attention should be given to avoiding stereotypes by identifying where this occurs and removing discriminatory material from the syllabus. Stereotypes can be challenged by using a range of examples, images and illustrations, or considering the references and reading materials included in a bibliography.

This does not mean providing an example or image for each equality grouping, protected characteristic, past educational experience or current context, but does involve ensuring that a range of examples are provided when preparing lectures, reading lists or problem-based scenarios and that any materials present equality in a positive light and a non-stereotypical way.

Although feedback from students can help future design and delivery of modules, remember that individual students categorised by any one equality group are heterogeneous. Avoid assumptions about the way that prospective students are categorised; there is no guarantee that students sharing a specific equality label will respond to content, group work or types of assessment on the basis of how others similarly categorised have reacted.

Inclusive design and delivery needs to avoid stigmatising and make provision accessible and relevant to all students.

Excerpt from Higher Education Academy Generic Considerations of Inclusive Curriculum Design.  Available here.  [Last accessed 6th August, 2014].

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