AccessAbilty Services is a support service for JCU students who identify with temporary or permanent disability, injury, illness or health condition. The Inclusive Practice Acknowledgement Award (IPAA) has been part of JCU’s AccessAbility Services since 2000. Recipients of the IPAA are recognised for their efforts to be flexible, consultative, proactive and/or innovative.
In 2010, students registered with AccessAbility Services nominated Dr Alf Kuilboer for providing additional support. In this personal account, the first time IPAA recipient reflects on his teaching practice that shows strong commitment to inclusive teaching practice.
Dr Alf Kuilboer
Lecturer, Discipline of Management
This nomination which came as a complete surprise, informs me that I take into consideration those students who do have a disability. In many instances I am not visually aware of students with a disability, however being always mindful of student diversity I take this aspect of my teaching very seriously. For me on a personal level, it is very encouraging and motivating but also reiterates the challenges we face as teachers and the responsibility we have towards this group of students.
I utilize all of the IPAA teaching strategies with the main emphasis on interaction with the students – always putting a positive/encouraging spin on their interaction. In tutorials the emphasis is on applying the concepts and theories taught in lectures at a level the students can relate to. This again emphasizes interaction with the students and recording feedback on whiteboards or in general discussion. On several occasions I have been approached to identify a ‘note taker’ for a student who has difficulty in this area. As a result, I audio podcast my lectures which are available to all students and can be downloaded into any format. Activities which form part of the teaching component in either lectures or tutorials/workshops are designed to include individuals with a disability. My final strategy is to be myself and as approachable and transparent as possible. Therefore, I have an open door policy for all my students apart from the rostered consultation times.
Having taught in tertiary institutions for over 16 years and being a mature age student myself, my experience has taught me many things about how to deal with all types of students. The greatest lesson learned is that of having understanding and patience with individuals as each has their own specific learning need. It is also about giving them time and when communicating with them to talk to them and not at them.