From observing the gap to bridging the gap

Recently I was invited by the Faculty of the Arts to present at their Equality and Diversity Conference.  The Faculty provided an interesting and varied day As you will see from the agaenda. I was asked to talk about gaps in attainment and how the research I’ve been involved could provide an evidence base for changes to practice. During the Disa Project we implemented a ‘one small change can make a big difference’ campaign where we offered an evidence based of where changes could be made to improve attainment and left colleagues to make evidence based changes around something that reonated with them. We also asked them to report back their findings. Some people provided evaluation data, others provided anecdotal evidence, but it was very evident that small changes make big differences.

I focused this presentation around providing evidence from a synthesis of a number of projects I’d led or been involved in and again reintroduced the concept that a small change can make a big difference and provided some examples where this had been achieved.  One of my most favourite examples is from one of our Law lecturers who used positive talk to express an expectation of success to her students. When making the abstract concrete, she would say ‘when you are a solicitor or  when you are a barrister, you will use this….’ And would then provide an example of the application. Students reported that they left the lecture with no doubt that she expected them to succeed.  

Therefore my main message was that when bridging the gap, bridges can be complex, feats of engineering, ornate or simple.  Each have their own agenda and reason for being what they are, but we must not forget a simple wooden bridge also allows us to traverse the divide. This is important to remember in our time strapped environment. Just because you don’t have time or resources to do something complex or ornate, it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything at all.

Some of the presentation is available on Periscope, I didn’t know I was being filmed, so this has provided me with some food for thought  – in particular my constant ‘errr ing’  The ‘errr’ video is here.

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