Moving Matters: Supporting Disabled Dance Students in HE

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    It is still the case that relatively few students with physical or sensory disabilities participate in courses with a significant dance component at higher education level. There continue to be real and/or perceived barriers to access. Many universities and other higher education institutions will have secure processes for supporting disabled students and most courses will have clearly articulated equal opportunities policies, making clear that reasonable adjustments will be made to accommodate students with disabilities. But very real challenges are faced in providing the necessary support for these students, particularly on courses where there is an emphasis on practical (technical and creative) skill development. The kinds of adjustments needed require expertise that is discipline-specific but also require knowledge of the wider issues that disabled students have to deal with. So support needs to be provided on a multiagency basis; from dance tutors, learning support assistants, curriculum managers, the institution’s disability support officers and in some cases, personal carers. Furthermore, few opportunities exist for tutors to share experiences, with many feeling isolated and in need of support themselves when responding to the particular demands of individual students. Whilst research has exposed the need for support and there are a small number of excellent resource materials that will help teachers make general adjustments when teaching dance students with disabilities (the best examples perhaps being Benjamin (2002) and Parkes & Connor (2004)) there are no established guidelines for dance tutors working specifically in higher education. During 2007, two conferences at Coventry University brought together teachers, practitioners, agency representatives and students to explore some of these issues and particularly the strategies needed to encourage disabled dancers to participate in higher education and the many challenges involved in delivering an inclusive curriculum. As two landmark events in a matter of months, the energy from the first event was able to fuel the next. Both events were documented and with the support of a PALATINE Development Award these materials have been brought together in this publication, interwoven with a range of practical tips and guidance notes to offer the reader an insight into the debates that are taking place, to raise awareness and to provide a chance to reflect on teaching, learning and assessment methods
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCoventry
    PublisherCoventry University
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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    • Moving Matters

      Whatley, S.


      Project: Research

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