This week Els Van Geyte considers making the curriculum more LGBTQ inclusive

More information

Here at the University of Birmingham, we have made our Teaching and Learning courses for Postgraduates who teach more LGBTQ inclusive (see ‘Case Study’ below). This will hopefully make the participants think about their own teaching too. We revised our curriculum after being contacted by consultant Sean Russell, a contributor to a project funded by the UoB Educational Enhancement Fund, set up by Dr Nicola Gale and Dr Nicki Ward. The project led to a best practice guide (see ‘Further Reading’ below), which was used to inform the video.

Case study

What did we do to make our courses for Postgraduates who teach more inclusive? Some examples:

Introduction to Teaching and Learning course (ILT001)

  • Activity added / picture changed for gender and race balance (see copy of slide):
LGBTQ slide
  • Pre-reading added on Canvas about LGBT initiatives in HE, about being an LGBT engineer, and about supporting transgender students:

Small Group Teaching course (ILT003)

  •   Activities added (see copy of slides):
  1. Setting ground rules:

When teaching small groups, students can be asked to write ‘group rules’ together, which can address issues about behaviour and language that is acceptable. Handbooks can be another place where that is made explicit, e.g. they can state that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language or behaviour will not be tolerated.

Setting Ground Rules

2. Pronoun use:

When teaching small groups, we can ask the students rather than to assume we know what they want or to avoid the issue, e.g. we can ask students what pronouns they want to use. There are students, for example, who want to be referred to as ‘they’, rather than ‘he’ or she’.

Pronoun Activity
Pronoun Reflection

Marios Hadjianastasis and Els Van Geyte

Further reading

Thomas, L. and May, H. (2010) Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education, Higher Education Authority

National Union of Students (2015) Education Beyond the Straight and Narrow. LGBT students’ experience in higher education.

Ward, Nicki and Gale, Nicola (2016) LGBTQ-inclusivity in the Higher Education Curriculum: a best practice guide. Birmingham: University of Birmingham.