Patterns Beyond Labels: reframing inclusive teaching and learning in the context of inclusive feedback design

Abby Osborne (Lead presenter) –

Robert Eaton (Co-presenter) –

(Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Bath)
This workshop will challenge participants to reframe inclusion, offering a framework by which to develop their understanding of student needs, and opportunity to actively explore how inclusive assessment design can benefit all students and contribute to an institution-wide approach to embedding inclusivity at the heart of teaching and learning practice.

In light of the increased expectation of Higher Education institutions to mainstream inclusive teaching and learning practices, universities will need to move beyond siloed support which supports students outside of the curriculum, to implement sustainable approaches which enable students within the curriculum.

Current practices relating to inclusion frequently perpetuate notions of ‘difference’ through diagnosis and labelling as a way of legitimising support. However, if we move beyond the labels of marginalised cohorts, and the associated notions of individual difference, to instead identify patterns in difficulty, we will see that many students face similar hurdles in the context of learning in Higher Education. This affords us the opportunity to explore approaches to inclusivity which have the potential to benefit all students and which can be embedded within the core skills possessed by all teaching staff.
This workshop will introduce a framework developed to enable practitioners to identify such patterns, particularly in relation to student assessment. Group discussion and activity will encourage participants to apply this perspective to their own experience, generating a shared understanding of patterns of student need across a variety of differing contexts.

Using an example of inclusive assessment design from the University of Bath as a case-study, the workshop will also outline how the framework builds on Mike Wray’s suggested ‘pyramid model’ for reconfiguring specialised support provision (2018, adapted from Rose 2009), promoting an approach to delivering inclusive practice that moves beyond specialised silos of support and instead fostering a culture of inclusive practice as the basis of good teaching and learning. Again focusing on inclusive assessment, group discussion and activities will guide participants in thinking about the core skills needed by teaching staff in order that institutional policy can be successfully translated into meaningful practice.


Proposed schedule for workshop:

  • Reframing inclusive teaching and learning: introduction to ‘Patterns Beyond Labels’ framework – 10mins.
  • Group discussion/activity: identifying patterns of student need – 20mins.
  • Mind the gap: moving from institutional policy to institutional practice in inclusivity – 10mins.
  • Group discussion/activity: what do most staff mostly need to know? Using inclusive assessment design to benefit all students and teaching staff – 20mins.
  • Feedback and plenary – 15mins.


Wray, M. (2018) Re-visioning support for disabled students in HE, WonkHE. Available at: [accessed 07/02/19]

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