Class size: n/a
Context: tutorials, workshops, student advice sessions, language practice sessions
Pedagogy used: Inclusive practice is paramount to all of our interactions with students. How we do this varies on the activity. For example, in extra-curricular activities (designed to increase language fluency) such as Conversation Confidence we choose topics that are related to students’ home cultures or have discussions on LGBTQI Pride – this helps all students feel valued and included. In sessions such as Presenting with Confidence, we use slides that contain images of people from a wide range of ethnicities, to help towards representation. We also have a number of student led sessions such as Language Groups, where students teach each other their language. This helps create a sense of sharing the academic space and works towards co-creating the curriculum. It is the right thing to do, and students would not use our services if they felt excluded. The University of Leeds actively supports inclusive and accessible practices.
Reflection: The self-access centre at the University of Leeds, the Language Zone, is a key part of the University’s internationalisation strategy and actively contributes to the engagement practice for our students, who are learning English and other languages as part of their university studies or independently. It “aims to be a hub of language and intercultural learning for staff and students across the University by providing high quality resources, a social space and fostering and encouraging enthusiasm for language learning” (University of Leeds, 2020). These objectives are always important, but the Covid-19 pandemic has both challenged our ability to do this and heightened the need for this. We created online spaces to support extra-curricular language practice as well as community building across the University.
The Language Zone provides support for independent language learning, including English for Academic Purposes and foreign language degree and elective modules
Most of it will be transferable to other contexts: to involve students in decision-making, get regular feedback from students about the content of the sessions and if we deliver the kind of services and content they need/want, be aware of representation and audience attendance (targeted marketing if necessary to engage non-participants)