Exploring how making a space in the curriculum for students to share aspects of their cultural background and identity can lead to an enhanced teaching and learning experience.
This research is a response to the context of widening participation and of BCU’s central purpose as the University for Birmingham. BCU is concerned to provide a teaching and learning environment that is representative of the communities it serves and that students from every community enjoy valuable and transformative educational experiences at the University.
The aim was to explore how making a space in the curriculum for students to share aspects of their cultural background and identity can lead to an enhanced teaching and learning experience.
How was the research carried out?
We used an adapted version of David Gauntlett’s Identity Box idea with a diverse group of student researchers who were recruited to research students’ experiences across the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences. We photographed and audio recorded students talking about the contents of their identity boxes and sharing experiences about being a student at BCU.
We found out that the identity box activity produced a space in which teachers and students were able to learn about each other. This ‘differential space’ enabled both students and teachers to understand more about cultural and personal differences and how these play out in HE space. We view this research as an important route into ensuring that students from across the super-diverse range of students in University all feel represented and belonging within the University.