The Reflections of a Tutor and a Writer within the Inclusive Learning Initiative

O'Neill, Maggie and Connolly, Ross (2012) The Reflections of a Tutor and a Writer within the Inclusive Learning Initiative. In: AISHE-Conference 2012: Responding to Change: Effective Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30th & 31st August 2012, Dublin City University, Ireland..


The NUI Maynooth Writing Centre, was established on a pilot basis by the University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning in September 2011 with the aim of offering academic writing and literacy help to all students, regardless of course, degree or level. A key feature of the initiative is one-to-one support which is entirely learner-centred and focused on helping students to address a self-identified need/concern that they may have with regards their writing. Writing support is provided by experienced tutors who are at post-doctoral, doctoral and undergraduate level; Dr Maggie O’Neill is one of these tutors. The Inclusive Learning Initiative was also initiated in September 2011. This pilot programme facilitates access to higher education at NUI Maynooth for students with intellectual disabilities. There are currently five students registered on the programme. The students’ academic work on their particular modules is assessed on flexible accreditation. They are not viewed as a separate group but as individual students attending a range of classes across the University. Mr Ross Connolly joined the Inclusive Learning Initiative looking for challenging learning opportunities at 3rd level education and the individual experience of university life, having completed various courses rated on the National Framework of Qualifications. In academic year 2011/12 Ross took modules in his preferred area of study, Community and Youth Work; he also carried out work experience in this discipline. Ross first attended the Writing Centre in February 2012 to seek support in his academic learning. After that first visit, Ross booked weekly appointments, bringing work to the Writing Centre where together he and Maggie figured out the best way of addressing Ross’s concerns. This process has been a learning experience for both Ross and Maggie in terms of talking about writing and allowing both to see writing in a new way. This paper will engage in reflection on the role of the tutor and the writer in the Writing Centre in the unique context of the Inclusive Learning Initiative.

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